The Pentaverate (2022)

I used to love Mike Myers’ movies: the Austin Powers franchise, So I Married an Axe Murderer, etc. But something happened to him after the critical panning of his last comedic film The Love Guru (2008), which was 14 years ago. It appears a deep introspection followed. Mike Myers got way more serious (with small roles in more serious films) and, unfortunately, as we see in this really bad and embarrassingly unfunny 6-episode Netflix series… he became woke.

My first clue that this was going to be bad was by via the simple fact that I had to search for it on Netflix. One would expect that a new and rare Mike Myers project would be featured prominently on the main Netflix page, but nada. Red flag #1.

Then I saw how The Pentaverate has a 33% critic score on RT, which is generous to say the least. Red flag #2.

Then I read a Hollywood Reporter interview with Myers where he extolls the virtues of The Obamas™ and warns us that “Right now, in the global war between fascism and democracy, the first casualty of war is truth.” Throughout the series, there are lots of nods to Kubrick (whom Myers worships), including the conspiracy theory that he was involved with the U.S. moon landing ‘hoax’, the ‘eye in triangle’ of A Clockwork Orange, HAL from 2001, and the creepy piano motif from Eyes Wide Shut.

Qua past Myers, the series is chock full of his usual over-the-top Britcom scatology, except that none of it is funny. I hate to say it but it is cringeworthily juvenile and facile, and in a non-transgressive way, signaling that Myers has outlived his comedic usefulness. (I think I laughed maybe 3 times across all 6 episodes).

Myers plays a variety of #WhiteMenAreDumb characters:

  • Ken Scarborough, the series’ primary protagonist (that is, until a Strong Young Black Female colleague tells him what to do) who is a Canadian journalist tasked by his Strong Black Female Canadian Boss to expose something big or else lose his job due to his career expiration date. He is a naïve and bumbling senior citizen who is aided and abetted by his much smarter and able young black female colleague Reilly Clayton, who works with him at the Canadian TV news channel “CaCa”.
  • Anthony Lansdowne, a middle-aged incel Bronx-accented conspiracy theorist who sports a “Take the red pill” sticker on the side of his van, and who is easily rattles by the ‘reasoning’ of young Reilly.
  • Rex Smith, an Alex Jones knockoff.

Even the members of The Pentaverate (a benevolent secret society that runs the world and holds Davos-like global meetings, etc.) are portrayed as Dumb White Guys whose time has passed:

  • Lord Lordington, a rather pointless Derek Jacobi impression who heads the current (and short-to-be-of-this-world Pentaverate).
  • Shep Gordon, a faithful impression of the rock and roll manager that Myers is a close friend of and whom Myers directed the biopic documentary Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon.
  • Mishu Ivanov, a Rasputin-like ancillary to Russian oligarchy.
  • Bruce Baldwin, who also serves as the series’ villain, an Australian tabloid tycoon who is an obvious impression of Rubert Murdoch (owner of Fox News).

Throughout the entire series, young Reilly wears a black T-shirt with white lettering that reads: “Canada: Living the American Dream violence-free since 1867”.

In the first 2 episodes, Keegan-Michael Key (of “Key & Peele”) plays a streetwise, jive-talkin’ Black Man recruited into The Pentaverate who is… drumroll… the world’s greatest nuclear physicist who is on the verge of solving cold fusion. Think Eddie Murphy from 48 Hours but also as the most brilliant scientific mind alive. (“Y’all know you kidnapped a black man!?”). Naturally, Myers checks off the miscegenation box with Key getting it on with the one Cishet White Woman in the series.

As the show progresses, we are lectured by young Reilly on how both the media business and The Pentaverate is nothing but “white man after white man after white man”, how the Cishet White Chick working for The Pentaverate has tried to increase Diversity™ in the organization, but all too often only at low levels of the org, not at the top.

The series culminates in the benevolent Pentaverate members (sans the dastardly Rupert Murdoch member, who escapes for a sequel that will never be) agreeing to… and I’m not making this up… commit suicide in order to pave the way for what becomes The New Pentaverate: a group of progressive and smarter-than-the-white-guyz POCs and Women.

Just when you though Wokeness couldn’t possibly create any more droll and predictable activist programming, Mike Myers comes along with with his pick-axe to prove that the virtue-signaling of Hollywood’s most insulated celebs has no boundaries.

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