Buster’s Mal Heart is a terrible Arrested Development spin-off
When Netflix saved Arrested Development all of us fans were ecstatic: finally we would get a continuation to one of the best comedy series to ever air on television. Although season 3 had wrapped in 2005, it took until 2013 to get a follow-up. Season 4 turned out to be a jigsaw puzzle of a season, and left many fans disappointed. Upon hearing Netflix would take another shot at reaching the quality of the show’s heyday we were enthusiastic, until we saw what they had in mind. Buster’s Mal Heart proves to be an even more bizarre chapter in the Arrested Development saga than season 4 was.
If you were one of the fans frustrated by season 4’s decision to keep all characters isolated for the most part, then you will not be happy with how Buster’s Mal Heart handles the beloved Bluth family. It seems Netflix has decided to emulate Disney’s Star Wars spin-off model (even though it’s been so unsuccessful that at this point it seems not even that Obi Wan Kenobi film will happen). In this first chapter in the Arrested Development film universe we follow beloved doofus Buster Bluth.
The first thing you will notice when starting Buster’s Mal Heart is the change in look. Director Sarah Adina Smith has opted to throw out Arrested Development’s bright color scheme in favor of drab visuals. Things get weirder from here on. In the same vein as Solo, Netflix decided to recast Tony Hale to show an earlier chapter of Buster’s life. Although we are big fans of Rami Malek’s performance in Mr. Robot we can’t help but be confused at his casting as a younger Buster. Although the two performers have a similar twitchy attitude in their way of acting, they couldn’t seem further apart in terms of similarities.
The logical choice would’ve been to follow Buster’s romance with Lucille two – given the title – yet instead we follow Buster as he becomes a family man who takes a night shift job working in a hotel. It gets weirder from there as instead of cameos from our beloved Arrested Development gang, we are treated to a plot involving conspiracies and Sci-Fi elements. None of our favorite gags are referenced, and the new ones don’t reach the height of the show. This despite the casting of comedic legend DJ “Road Trip” Qualls.
Since watching this spin-off movie we’ve seen the fifth season of Arrested Development. We are equally confused as we are happy to say at no point this odd detour in Buster Bluth’s saga gets acknowledged. We hope this marks the end of this Netflix experiment, before the Arrested Development name gets dragged even further down the mud.