Steve Coogan stars as sleazeball in smart satire on Hollywood and sexual politics

Steve Coogan is superb at enjoying a middle-aged man nervously navigating the brand new “woke” panorama whereas determined to sleep with ladies half his age. In Chivalry (Channel 4), he’s Cameron O’Neill, a Hollywood producer going through as much as life within the MeToo period. Bobby Sohrabi (Sarah Solemani) is the right-on movie director drafted in to reshoot the intercourse scenes in his newest movie and make them much less objectionable to a feminine viewers.

What follows is an odd-couple comedy. Bobby makes no effort to disguise her disdain for Cameron, whose presence she appears to expertise as a bodily ache. However she’s pragmatic – as studio govt Jean (Wanda Sykes) explains, if Bobby pulls this off she’ll get the cash to make her Iranian feminist Biblical biopic.

It’s a witty present, and isn’t so simplistic as to make Cameron the villain and Bobby all the time the voice of cause. Solemani’s withering supply is nice, as is Coogan when his character makes squirming makes an attempt to not say something career-endingly sexist. Cameron is cautious in Bobby’s firm to seek advice from his ex-girlfriend – who has simply dumped him through WhatsApp – as his “life partner”. “How old was your life partner?” asks Bobby, with a raised eyebrow. “Twenty-five. Nearly twenty-five,” Cameron replies defensively. At one level he complains to Jean: “You can’t even describe people with adjectives any more. These people are like the East German Stasi!”

More often than not, we’re on Bobby’s facet. However generally you want she would give it a relaxation. When she meets her movie’s American main woman, performed with relish by Sienna Miller, she explains that the re-shot intercourse scene shall be a nuanced “celebration of the vagina”. Miller’s character snorts: “The Americans don’t celebrate the vagina, sweetheart. We celebrate Hanukkah and Thanksgiving.” Miller is one in every of a number of enjoyable cameos within the collection, together with John C Reilly and Paul Rudd.

The language, I need to warn you, could be specific, together with the sexual references. Cameron appears alarmed when Bobby utters the c-word, however she calmly informs him: “That is an acceptable slang term for a woman to use to describe female genitalia. It can’t be used to describe a person.”

Bobby additionally has a severe speech in regards to the want for on-set intimacy coordinators: “Because the men who had the power to stop women being abused chose not to. The environment created was just so hostile and toxic and predatory and disgusting, intimacy coordinators were created to spell out what should be obvious.” However then the present leavens this by having the intimacy coordinator (Aisling Bea) be an under-qualified fool who clearly fancies Cameron. When she playfully smacks his backside, Cameron says: “You’re not supposed to do that any more, even though I don’t mind!”

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