‘The Manny’ Review: A Lackluster Family Comedy-Drama Trying Hard To Take Itself Seriously

The Netflix Mexican Originals are some of the most absurd content out there for viewers. A lot of them involve families and will either be comedies or serious thrillers, including plenty of sleazy scenes just for the sake of it. Most of the shows have an interesting premise but are made unnecessarily convoluted just for the sake of drama. Something similar could be said about The Manny, the brand-new Netflix Mexican Original show. The Manny, released on the platform on December 24, 2023, was created by Carolina Rivera, and it is about a male nanny hired by a rich heiress to take care of her children.

The show has ten episodes, with each having a run time of 30 to 35 minutes. The Manny is about Jimena, who is set to inherit her father’s finance company and is on the verge of getting a divorce. On the verge of becoming a single mother has a tough time taking care of her three children and is desperate to hire a nanny who could discipline them. Jimena is also competing with her cousin Rogellio for the top post in her father’s company when she uncovers a scam carried out by him and his associate. Jimena wants to get to the bottom of it, as it will ease her path toward becoming the chairman of her father’s company upon his retirement.

To her surprise, Gabriel walks into her life to work as a male nanny, and he is quickly hired. Unknown to anyone, Gabriel is in town to get in touch with Jimena and her family and get to the bottom of the scam being carried out by her father’s company, which is bleeding his father’s money from the ranch to the point they are on the cusp of bankruptcy. Amidst these end goals, Jimena and Gabriel find themselves attracted to each other, as expected. Was Jimena involved in the scam? Was there a possibility of love between two people who had set out to find some tough answers?

The showmakers tried to infuse comedy into this series, but none of the humor landed. The forced comedy at every juncture falls flat, and a lot of it is followed by an awkward background score that reinforces it. The comedy-drama is essentially a bore. Many different subplots are suddenly added, and the structure of the show goes for a toss. The comedy element mentioned above could have been a highlight if the makers had not tried too hard to infuse humor into the screenplay. The jealousy, and infidelity angles are added to add to the length of the show. The writing is erratic and stretched, which does not serve any purpose. The screenplay diverts into multiple subplots, but none of them have been well connected by the writers. A subplot involving Jimena’s ex-husband Joaquin’s girlfriend and his engagement is added, and it has no purpose in the bigger picture.

The main plot involving Jimena’s quest to find the animal ranch related scam could not have been more convoluted. The makers stretched this plot and made it for ten episodes and delivered an inconsistent ending. The predictable yet rushed nature of the climax proved that not much effort was put into the writing to make the show engaging. Ten episodes was too long for a comedy-drama because a lot of the stories could have been removed. The series could have been six or eight episodes to focus on the actual narrative it was trying to build the show on. One of the episodes is dedicated to the family spending time at the club, the most unnecessary addition to the story. There was also a subplot involving Santiago having a crush on the most popular girl in the school. The narrative, which tried to showcase school romance, did not work and has no definite ending. It involves Santiago’s sister, Sofia, meddling with the romance brewing between her brother and the young girl Tania.

Some additions worked well as part of the overall message of the show. The show broke the taboo of men taking on the job of nurturing the kids while the mother was busy building a career for herself. Since the show’s creator is a woman, Jimena’s character always rose above the accusations she received from her ex-husband and her father about choosing her career over her marriage to an abusive man. Jimena refused to be questioned by the patriarchs around her and continued working. Jimena’s arc seemed very similar to Priyanka Chopra’s in Dil Dhadakne Do, a popular Hindi language film in which her character finally had to confront the fact that her marriage was not working, and she could not sacrifice her career for it. Jimena’s career allowed her to decide for herself and her children, putting a positive spin on a female-led show.

Gabriel, as the nanny, wholeheartedly took up the job of looking after three kids: Santiago, Sofia, and Leo. The show also focused on the redemption arc of Joaquin. Jimena’s ex-husband, who was slowly owning up to his role as a father to three kids and understanding changes his children are going through. It is commendable for Mexican filmmakers to have discussed such taboo subjects throughout the show.

Queer acceptance in society is also briefly mentioned in the show. One of the supporting characters comes out as gay, but sadly, the person is not just a middle-aged person but is also under the pressure of not being allowed to live on his terms. Even though he is advised by Gabriel to live freely, the person concludes the conversation with society not being as inclusive as many perceive it to be. There is no room for ultimate freedom. It was essential for the makers to bring up this subject because, despite global acceptance, there are regions that still do not tolerate the sexual expression of human beings.

The direction of the show is prolonged, and it further becomes messy because of the screenplay, which is dragged to the point where there is no excitement for the last two episodes. There was barely any chemistry between the leads. The attraction felt by Jimena and Gabriel right from the start till the end felt forced, and it soon became a burden on the narrative because both actors, together and through their arcs, could not carry the show. The performances by the lead actors did not help the show remain afloat. Most of the actors did not contribute much when it came to adding depth to the arc offered to them. Sandra Echeverría, as Jimena, could not put forth any emotion about the ups and downs she was going through as a single mother and a woman who is driven. The same could be said about Iván Amozurrutia. The young man could hardly emote, and it proved you require more than good looks to pull off a role. Overall, The Manny on Netflix was a lackluster show that did not do justice to either the comedy or drama genres. A show you can skip.

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Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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The Manny on Netflix was a lackluster show that did not do justice to either the comedy or drama genres. A show you can skip.'The Manny' Review: A Lackluster Family Comedy-Drama Trying Hard To Take Itself Seriously