LONDON: Just in case the title failed to give it away, “The Woman in the House Across the Street From the Girl in the Window” is a send-up of psychological thrillers, such as “The Girl on the Train” and “The Woman in the Window.”
In this eight-part Netflix comedy, Kristen Bell is Anna, a woman with too much time on her hands and a seemingly overactive imagination.
When she witnesses a murder at her neighbor’s house, her appeals to the police are ignored, so Anna takes it on herself to do what the authorities apparently cannot — unmask the killer.
The show features a rogues’ gallery of suspects: The hunky widower across the street, the victim’s former flame, the well-meaning (but simple) handyman, before the big reveal. Each is supposed to be a spoof of the character tropes typical of these types of movies.
The show’s problems are twofold. First, it is not absolutely clear when it is trying to be funny and when it is taking its source material seriously.
Second, when it is trying to be funny, it isn’t particularly, you know, funny. There are a couple of clever quips in the first 10 minutes, but that is about it.
As the story takes the obvious route through the usual red herrings and “unexpected” twists, there is an unerring sense of flat, dreary silliness that rarely rises above the banal.
Bell, also one of the show’s executive producers, is charismatic enough, but even at her best, she is unable to elevate this material to anywhere near entertaining.
Lampooning an entire genre is a difficult thing to get right — which is why it is possible to count the number of really great spoof films and shows on one hand. And it also comes with the added risk of being doubly embarrassing when not done right. In the case of “The Woman in the House,” it has gone very wrong.