Roush Review: The Relentlessly Twisty ‘Dead to Me’ Is Made Palatable by an Expert Cast
Good grief, the list of “do not spoil” plot points never ends for Netflix’s slick and macabre comedy, Dead to Me. So let’s just say that a healthy suspension of disbelief will come in handy to fully enjoy the budding bonding of prickly Jen (Christina Applegate) and openhearted Judy (Linda Cardellini) after they meet at a survivors’ support group called “Friends of Heaven.”
Applegate nails the acerbic edge of a widowed mom and high-end real-estate agent who’s still reeling from her husband’s death in a hit-and-run accident.
It’s initially hard to swallow that this tough and defensive woman would lower her guard and take in a needy neurotic like Judy, although Cardellini’s natural warmth wins us over even before we learn the roots of her cloying empathy.
An expert cast that includes the charismatic James Marsden as [redacted], Valerie Mahaffey as Jen’s frosty mother-in-law and living legend Ed Asner as a wise curmudgeon helps make palatable a relentlessly twisty scenario that is rarely as shocking as it seems to think it is.
Still, it’s a brisk ride to a cliffhanger end, even when your feet begin to hurt waiting for the next shoe to drop.
Dead to Me, Series Premiere Friday, May 3, Netflix