I winced when I heard that Hi-Fi would be the latest old Hollywood IP that would be restarted as I am identified myself Hi-Fi stan. The 2000 film with John Cusack has always been my heartbreaking North Star comedy drama, and like every protective fan, I didn't want it to be tarnished by a carbon copy pretender. I'm happy to admit that I was wrong – the gender restart with Zoë Kravitz in Cusack's role has been translated into a cool, refreshing version of modern love.
However, there is a big problem: Hi-Fi (2020) is too loyal Hi-Fi (2000). The Hulu show was expected to borrow mostly from the film, and it does, although using the word borrow would be a big understatement. Kravitz & # 39; character is called Rob (short for Robyn, which is sweet. On the nose, but sweet.). Rob runs a record store called Championship Vinyl. She has two employees and a crippling introspection regarding her love life. These things felt like a given, but a choice the series makes goes too far and changes from homage to overkill. The film's literal dialogue is used throughout the series. The actors even tend to deliver most of these lines the same way as in the film.
In the pilot, I smiled when I recognized some of the film's familiar lines, especially in the opening scene where Rob said goodbye to her lover Mac, whom she realizes was The One, which of course is the very beginning of the film. But then as the episode continued, I recognized more and more lines. In the following episodes – every 10 – the lines of the film are woven in until almost every single word of the dialogue from the film is spoken.
Neither Rob nor Cherise deserve to be someone else's version.
It's not just the lines; The storyline of the first season loosely follows that of the film, except that one of the most dynamic characters in the series, Cherise (Da & # 39; Vine Joy Randolph), is a female version of Jack Black's character Barry. Cherise is an electric figure that's quite enough that she doesn't have to be a black (almost exact) female version of Barry. It doesn't help that Kravitz & # 39; Rob is so similar to Cusack's Rob in some corners (Kravitz & # 39; line delivery often uses the same cadence as Cusack and reduces it to what feels like an imitation of him). It is not necessary. Kravitz & # 39; Rob is an incredible character. Neither Rob nor Cherise deserve to be someone else's version.
It should be emphasized that the show thrives in its differences to the film. Kravitz & # 39; presence always seemed interesting because she's the real daughter of one of the film's stars – mother Lisa Bonet played Marie De Salle, one of Cusack's love interests – but the show deals with the greater meaning that Kravitz & # 39; Rob is a young woman of color. The record store realm has traditionally been the domain of men, and the opinion of white men has been valued in the music industry for decades. The film, of course, reinforces this. But here, on today's championship vinyl, two young black women and a white gay man are discussing music, dealing with pop culture and making top 5 lists. Not only does it feel fresh, it also becomes more culturally relevant in a scene where an older white man invalidates Rob's music balance by ignoring her opinion while speaking only to her companion, who is a man. It's a painfully familiar scene for any woman, especially women with color, who assert their opinion in a traditionally male-dominated space.
And like Cusack's Rob, who fulfills his imagination in the movie by sleeping with a beautiful musician (Bonet), Robin also sleeps with a beautiful musician (Thomas Doherty), but her imagination unsightly turns into that of a 30-year-old groupie woman , This Hi-Fi is confident and refreshing until the lines of the film appear so you feel like you've seen it all before. It feels lazy.
The lines of the film are so worn that it looks like there won't be any left for season two if the show is (and should) be for another. Even as someone who desperately loves the film, I would be happy if the series left the film behind and only used Beats as a tribute, as a song in the background can remind you of a loved scene – but didn't hit you over the head in order to.