Review by Dan Skip Allen
Several shows have used a Silicon Valley setting to tell the story of the goings on at various startups taking advantage of bustling minds in California. The Consultant, although a fictional tale based on the book by Bentley Little, is a cautionary tale of how creative minds can go array.
Mr. Sang was the head of a mobile phone game startup company called Compware in Los Angeles, California. He invites a group of children to tour his office. When one of those children shoots and kills him, this sends the company into turmoil. A man named Regu Patoff (Christoph Waltz) is brought in to oversee the company's daily operations. He lights a fire under a couple of the employees of the game company.
Elaine (Brittany O'Grady) and Craig (Nat Wolff) are young creative and ambitious people at the company. One has ideas of being the head of the company someday, and the other has an idea that could be the next big mobile game the world is in love with. It takes a little push for them to get to where they want to go, or fall on their proverbial face instead. Waltz's character helps them get to where they belong, or shows them they aren't made of what they think of.
Waltz's character uses some underhanded tactics to push the two to another level. He enlists Wolff's character's wife (Aimee Camerro) to see what he's made of. And he gives O'Grady's character more creative control in the company. One of those ideas goes very badly, but Waltz's character wanted to see what she was really made of. This is the new business style. You either swim or drown.
Once the game Wolf's character creates with the rest of the team at the office finally comes out, things start to change for everybody involved. O'Grady's character starts to get her confidence, and she is seeing herself in a leadership position. Wolff and O'Grady are terrific in the show. Waltz is Waltz, but the real stars are the other two. They bring new energy and creative ability to this series that I was drawn to. I can't wait to see more of them in other films and television shows.
There is a comedic element to this show, but the dramatic stuff was more effective. Waltz can be a funny actor, and his deadpan style is good, but I wasn't a fan of it in this series. I felt like he was in a different show than the others, but in the end, the story came together for the better. The show worked despite him being in a different world from the others. He's so good he can make underwhelming material better.
The Consultant is a series with some good ideas and some burgeoning talents like Wolff and O'Grady. The story based on this startup game company was interesting and new to me. Waltz brought his own creative energy, and he even does a cover of "I Did It My Way" from Frank Sinatra to boot. He is his own man, and there aren't many to reach his level. The problem is the material is beneath these terrific actors, and it falls short of a good show.
The Consultant streams on Prime Video beginning February 24.