The Curse review: Emma Stone and Nathan Fielder star in the weirdest, most unforgettable show of 2023

Nathan Fielder is known for pushing the boundaries of discomfort in his comedy, and his latest project, The Curse on Showtime, co-created with Benny Safdie, continues this trend. Starring alongside Emma Stone, Fielder plays Asher, one half of a couple trying to revitalize a New Mexico town through a misguided HGTV show, Flipanthropy, while their marriage unravels.

Set in Española, New Mexico, Asher and Whitney Siegel are determined to bring eco-friendly housing to the town, hoping to attract wealthy buyers. However, their efforts are met with skepticism and resistance from the local community, who see through their superficial attempts at gentrification. Whitney, played by Stone, is particularly compelling as a character desperate for approval but ultimately selfish and unlikable.

The Curse blends cringe comedy with horror undertones, creating a surreal and unsettling atmosphere. Fielder, who also directs several episodes, captures the couple’s struggles through a voyeuristic lens, emphasizing their public personas versus their private conflicts.

The show’s supporting cast, including Barkhad Abdi and Nizhonniya Luxi Austin, adds depth to the narrative, highlighting the complexities of race and class in the story. Safdie’s character, Dougie, the producer of Flipanthropy, serves as a catalyst for conflict, pushing Asher and Whitney to confront uncomfortable truths about themselves and their intentions.

Despite its strong performances and unique premise, The Curse suffers from pacing issues, with some episodes feeling unnecessarily long. The finale, in particular, is likely to leave viewers perplexed and divided in their opinions.

Overall, The Curse is a compelling and thought-provoking series that delves into themes of identity, privilege, and the consequences of our actions. Grade: B+

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