Review: ‘Quick Draw’

Quick Draw Review Hulu

Hulu's western spoof shoots blanks comedy-wise

It’s perhaps appropriate that Hulu has access to “Saturday Night Live,” because in terms of original series, the digital service is starting to look like a not-ready-for-primetime player. After the so-so “Moone Boy” and uninspired “The Awesomes” comes “Quick Draw,” a western spoof seemingly devised — given the form’s current low profile — for no one in particular. Starring and co-written by John Lehr, who plays an Eastern tenderfoot who brags about his Harvard background, it’s an awfully slim construct, played at a level somewhere between desert-dry and teeth-gnashing irritation. Whatever the goal, this ought to have been sent back to the drawing board.

Lehr shares writing and exec producing credit with director Nancy Hower, with whom he collaborated on TBS’ “10 Items or Less.” Still, the “Destry”-like premise is mostly obscured by the lead’s Jerry Lewis antics and a been-there quality to the gags.

Lehr plays John Henry Hoyle, the new sheriff in a Kansas town where his five predecessors all met a violent end. Hoyle’s deputy (Nick Brown) has seen them all come and go, which understandably gives the new lawman pause — as does a pool among the locals on when he’s going to join the ranks of the deceased.

Yet while Hoyle acts like a buffoon and cites his Ivy League credentials at every opportunity, he’s actually pretty handy with a gun, which becomes apparent when he’s charged with hunting down a gang of outlaws.

Silliness isn’t bad, necessarily, but when confined to such a specific setting, there needs to be some point of view. Moreover, the western is hardly a regular point of reference for the young guys who are presumably the target audience, given the snarky, let’s-sift-through-that-corpse tone of the humor.

Quick Draw” virtually dispenses with any of that, which leaves the actors doing little more than playing dress-up, for what feels considerably longer than the premiere’s 23 minutes.

Hulu’s presence at the TV Critics Assn. tour illustrates that the service wants to be taken seriously as an original-programming provider, and anybody committed to playing in the big leagues is going to fire off their share of duds (a la Netflix’s “Hemlock Grove“).

Nevertheless, it’s hard to see any of the more traditional networks being drawn to something like this. Viewed that way, “Quick Draw” represents a pretty conspicuous misfire, pardner.

Quick Draw

(Series; Hulu, Mon. Aug. 5)

Production

Produced by Howler Monkey Prods.

Crew

Executive producers, Nancy Hower, John Lehr; co-executive producer, Keith Raskin; director, Hower; writers, Hower, Lehr; camera, Mark Petersen; production designer, Gary Kordan; music, Darius Holbert; casting, Tim Payne. 23 MIN.

Cast

John Lehr, Nick Brown, Allison Dunbar, Robert Clendenin

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  1. desertstraw says:

    What an incompetent critic. Quickdraw is probably the funniest comedy on TV.

  2. Darin says:

    Getting fat and paid criticizing other people’s original work. Quick draw id’s fresh and funny. No accounting for taste, and you have none. Criticizing the critic…this I like.

  3. Des says:

    I’ve watched this series several times. I continue to laugh every time. I’m a fan.

  4. Brian Lowry is an idiot. Quick Draw is hilarious and original. He doesn’t like it for this very reason; he’s basically saying that it’s not like anything else so it must be bad. What a hack. He references Saturday Night Live as a standard for funny. I guess he hasn’t watched that show in a while… completely dead show running on momentum. I haven’t laughed at SNL in years. I laugh like crazy at Quick Draw.

  5. S. Dannhaus says:

    I love and re-love watching this show. This is entertainment that seems to be so hard to find these days. Truly funny stuff. Talented actors and creative writing. It will draw you in unless you are humorless. If you love to laugh then give Quick Draw a try. I doubt that you will be disappointed.

  6. Robert H says:

    I found this review while googling for Quickdraw. I have to disagree with the reviewer. I think it’s a clever, funny show with excellent actors. I get all the jokes, and I’m not really a Western movie fan. I hope there is a third season!

  7. Danielle Priser says:

    It’s HULU Quickdraw weekend on The Ignorance Equation: Friday at 8pm eastern is Deputy Eli Brocias (Nick Brown), then Sunday at 1pm eastern is Sherriff John Henry Hoyle himself, (John Lehr). Tune in at http://tobtr.com/s/7306097 for some rootin-tootin fun!

  8. TG says:

    I am late to the party with the comments… But I LOVE this show. It is not a re-tread, done before, worn out type of comedy. I do agree with the comments below. Great show, and you are not the type of person who should be reviewing these types of shows. A little to risque for you…

  9. Shae says:

    I concur with commenters below…this show is actually very well written/improvised and funny….the juxtaposition of the throwback theme and modern humor is delightful to watch. Great characters, way better than most prime time television. I only wish the shows were longer for more plot development as the themes do lend itself to that.

  10. Michael D. Mullins says:

    As someone whose favorite writer’s number Rushdie and Pynchon, I feel I have a sense of what good story is. As such, I have to completely disagree with this review. I normally like the improvisation in a story to be somewhat reined in, muted. I find Quickdraw to be original and consistently surprising. Tonally, it’s dead-on. Moreover, it does something few comedies manage: it makes me laugh. Over and over. Maybe it’s just not this reviewer’s cup of tea, but I would recommend trying it out for yourself. After all, there’s something a little suspect built into reviews of free things. It cost you nothing to try it out — except a half-hour of your time — so why not just navigate your way to Hulu and decide for yourself. Myself, I searched for reviews of the show after watching it to confirm my own assessment. If Ebert were around and had a penchant for reviewing — I don’t know, are we still calling it TV!? — I wonder what he would have to say.

  11. Aimee says:

    I strongly disagree. I like the show a lot. It’s simple fun. The reviewer needs to relax and then try watching a few episodes again. See Hulu for fun clips of Western mixed drinks the viewer can prepare and then consume while watching the show.

  12. ryan says:

    Utter…garbage…

  13. Lewis says:

    Love this show. Kept me grining through the first 4 episodes

  14. Enoch Root says:

    The show is simply amazing, can’t second your review in any way.

  15. Betty says:

    I love Quick Draw, I don’t care what the professional reviews are, obviously those people don’t have a sense of humor.

  16. Joe says:

    Brian Lowry, you sir, are a terrible review writer. This show rocks. The acting from the cast is spot on with this type of comedy. The directing and the way it is filmed is done perfectly and hides how low budget this show really is.
    While reading this review, I get the feeling you’re the type of reviewer who wants to write a bad review before actually watching the show and having an open mind, simply because you don’t like the genre, cast, director or network (clearly you brought your dislike of hulu with you, which is a major fail as a reviewist). As the previous comment said, Mooneboy isn’t even a Hulu original series…

    Oh, and Hemlock Grove was brilliant too with a cast and story that started out good and ended great. You’re clearly in the wrong line of business.

  17. Yili says:

    I found it to be clever and refreshing. I suppose those looking for traditional, polished, overstated, and predictable television will be put off.

  18. Joe Joe says:

    I have to agree with most other comments here, I found it refreshingly funny, for Hulu or anyone else, for that matter. After the Office and 30 Rock calling quits, and the latest season of Arrested Development falling flat, I’m excited to enjoy television again.

  19. KevinA says:

    Finished watching the first three episodes and I thought it was hilarious! Kudos to Hulu and Lehr for trying to shoot for some original programming that relies more on witty banter and less heavy handed atmosphere.

  20. DianeSmile says:

    I am a female in my fifties and I really enjoyed the show! I find it refreshing that everything is not scripted and I love John Lehr in the role! Hope it lasts…

  21. pocketrebel says:

    I had an idiotic, open-mouthed grin through the first two episodes. I found it hilarious. The intentional anachronisms, the dialogue that seems practically ad-libbed — they just got me. I was thoroughly entertained.

  22. John Murray says:

    There was a 3 season long show called “10 items or Less” that had similar comedy to this and a cult following that seems to grow. It makes the lists for being brilliant but canceled. Quickness is for those fans and their friends. It couldn’t survive with the ranks of insipid laugh track sitcoms. That is a good thing.

  23. Erica says:

    I’m female and in my 30s, and I “got it.” I watched the first 2 episodes and I LOVE it! I like that it mixes verbal anachronisms. I love the dialogue. It kind of reminds me of the Adventures of Brisco County Jr., but with more deadpan humor. I really hope it catches on!

  24. I am with everyone saying they like it, and that’s a lot of people. We got it, you didn’t like it and miss-targeted it.

  25. Mike says:

    I’m in my 50s and I like it… mostly. I get the joke. In some parts the bantering dialogue over reaches trying to be funny but I had a good time.

  26. Susan says:

    Just watched the first two episodes……….I think its great!
    Young guys the target audience??? I don’t think so..I’m a woman, not in my twenties, and I get it, and want to see more of it…….everyone can relate to these characters.
    ( not for those who love CSI, or Law and order SVU) this is a parody of THAT “reality” , with some “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid ” physical comedy and humor to boot.

  27. Jeff says:

    Mooneboy isn’t a Hulu Original. It’s a Hulu Exclusive as are dozens of other foreign produced and aired shows. Mooneboy was originally aired on SKY in the UK.

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