For the most part of his career, Idris Elba has maintained the persona of a handsome brooding guy so when the trailer of Turn Up Charlie first dropped, we assumed that this was Elba stretching his acting muscles. However, the Netflix series has turned out to be an experiment that no one will remember.
The guy must have wanted to show that he is as good in the comic space as he is in something like The Wire. So much so, he is even listed as the co-creator of the show along with Gary Reich. But if Elba wanted to really prove his comic abilities, or let’s just say, work in something that isn’t super intense, he should have picked a better show.
Netflix’s eight-episode series Turn Up Charlie is about a one-hit wonder DJ from the 90s, Charlie (Elba) who is struggling to make ends meet. His childhood best friend David (JJ Feild), who is now a major Hollywood star, moves back to London with his wife Sara (Piper Perabo), a famous DJ, along with their out-of-control 11-year-old daughter Gabriella (Frankie Hervey). David asks Charlie to be his kid’s nanny and he agrees. There are ulterior motives, of course. Charlie could get a push from Sara and the rich and famous parents get to dump their monstrous kid on someone else.
It is one thing to show a child who is neglected by famous parents but Turn Up Charlie takes it to a whole other level. They demonise Gabriella so much that even the redemption scenes don’t have any effect.
As far as Idris Elba is concerned, he tries as hard as anyone can, but there is absolutely no material here that could help him navigate through Turn Up Charlie.
The show’s broader message is inclined towards teaching lessons – learning to say sorry or learning to value others, but these messages don’t come across sharply. The makers try to disguise them in comedy, but there are no laughs here so what we are left with is a tired show that is trying hard to survive.
Verdict: Turn Up Charlie intrigued Idris Elba fans but no one is going to question your loyalty if you miss this. For Britcom fans, this series has the ‘Brit’ part right but probably forgot the ‘com’.