Tag along with best buds Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne on funny show ‘Platonic’

Actors revive their ‘Neighbors’ chemistry on immediately addictive Apple TV+ series

SHARE Tag along with best buds Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne on funny show ‘Platonic’
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Sylvia (Rose Byrne) and Will (Seth Rogen) resume their friendship after Will’s marriage collapses in “Platonic.”

Apple TV+

Nearly a decade after Rose Byrne and Seth Rogen teamed up so well to play a married couple in “Neighbors” (2014) and the cleverly titled “Neighbors 2” (2016), they make for one of the best comedic duos of the year playing Friends With Benefits in the clever, funny, insightful and immediately addictive Apple TV+ series “Platonic.”

Not THOSE types of benefits. One of the things that makes “Platonic” so refreshing and original is that while it has a vibe reminiscent of “When Harry Met Sally…,” the huge difference is there’s zero chance Byrne’s Sylvia and Rogen’s Will would ever, ever hook up. The benefit here for Will and Sylvia is that they bring out the best in each other — when they’re not bringing out the worst in each other.

Either way, they somehow come more ALIVE when they’re hanging out. Still, they’d be equal parts amused and nauseated by the mere suggestion their sibling-like friendship bond could ever turn into something physical and/or romantic. (If you’ve ever been in a similar situation, you know the feeling. Your friends and associates, maybe even your partner, find it difficult to believe you guys have never been with each other, but you and your friend know it’s just not like that.)

‘Platonic’

Untitled

A series premiering with three episodes Wednesday on Apple TV+. A new episode then premieres each Wednesday through July 12.

Created by “Neighbors” director Nick Stoller (who has helmed the rom-com gems “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and “Bros”) and his partner Francesca Delbanco (“Friends From College”), “Platonic” is reminiscent of the Apple TV+ series “Shrinking” in that these series are whip-smart, breezy and consistently entertaining, and in both cases, it takes about five minutes of the premiere episode for us to find ourselves invested in these characters and eager to spend more time with them.

Early on, “Platonic” addresses the question of whether straight men and women can be friends; we even get a “When Harry Met Sally…” title-check. What’s refreshing is how the writers confront the issue and quickly move on, as just about every supporting player, from Sylvia’s likable lawyer husband Charlie (Luke Macfarlane) to Will’s estranged wife Audrey (Alisha Wainwright) to Will’s new and much younger girlfriend Peyton (Emily Kimball) to their various friends and associates, have no doubts these two really are just pals.

Not to say things don’t get complicated, in fact, at the outset of “Platonic,” it’s been five years since Culver City stay-at-home mom Sylvia and downtown L.A. brewmaster Will have spoken to one another, after an epic blowout caused by Sylvia’s intense dislike of Audrey. When Sylvia learns of Will’s breakup (via Instagram, of course), she reaches out to Will — and after an initially awkward and pause-filled meeting when it seems like they’ve moved on from one another, it takes just one long and adventure-filled night for them to rekindle that Best Friend Magic.

Soon, they’re teaming up for a series of sitcom-length adventures, from Will joining prospective house-buyer Sylvia as they do a walk-through of a former Assisted Living Facility that can be converted into a single-family home (or can it?); Sylvia and Will breaking into Will’s former home to kidnap Will’s pet lizard, Gandalf, and Sylvia attending Peyton’s 26th birthday party, which has the theme of “YOLO.”

Rogen is in his comfort zone and delivers some of his finest work as the cynical yet idealistic Will, and Byrne reminds us of her crackling good physical comedy skills as the somewhat floundering Sylvia, who gave up her promising law career to stay home with three children and has more FOMO than YOLO going at this point in her life.

“Platonic” is one of those shows where even the one- or two-episode guest characters are well-written and played by skilled comedic actors, e.g., Thomas Nowell’s Alan, who is one of Peyton’s roommates and claims to be in his late 20s, though he looks to be about 50. Will and Alan immediately resent each other, and it all blows up one night:

Alan: “OK Boomer.”

Will: “Don’t you ‘Boomer’ me, you are old! You’re an old man!”

Alan: “Your generation destroyed the environment!”

Will: “You will die before me. You have osteoporosis, you’ve shrunk since I’ve known you!”

Alan: “Try dressing your age!”

Will: “You dress your age, get a top hat and a monocle and one of those bikes with one big wheel, m-----------!”

Too great.

Whether Will and Sylvia are getting into embarrassing dustups, bailing each other out, tearing into each other or sharing an amazing experience no one else will quite understand, not now and not 20 years from now, they’re lucky to have found one another, and we’re lucky to bear witness to this one-of-a-kind friendship.

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