Overview: A sexy Valentine’s Day special hosted by Michael Bolton. Netflix; 2017; 54 mins
Cool: At the height of his fame in the 1990s, Michael Bolton was the epitome of uncool: a long haired romance novel-looking lothario singing love songs that made your mum’s heart melt. However, in recent years, he has seen his coolness rise as a result of nostalgia from ’90s kids and his collaborations with The Lonely Island on their track, “Jack Sparrow” and in their movie, the vastly underrated, soon to be cult classic, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping.
Michael Bolton’s Big, Sexy Valentine’s Day Special plays off both of these two Boltons– the new, cool one and the old charmer who gets people in the mood for love. The premise is simple: Bolton is singing a song about why he loves Valentine’s Day (because it means it’s only ten months until Christmas) when he bumps into Santa. Santa tells him that the elves have accidentally made 75,000 more toys than are needed and the only way Christmas won’t be ruined is if 75,000 more children are born by Christmas. The only way to get that many children conceived is for Bolton to put a sexy Valentine’s special that gets people in the mood to conceive.
Weird Humour: The special is a mix of sketch show, variety show, and telethon. The people behind it are the minds behind Comedy Bang Bang and The Lonely Island, meaning that the humour is, to put it lightly, weird. There are lots of very surreal ideas and jokes that feel as though they’re going one way before they take drastic turns. For example, at one point some stereotypical punks show up at the studio and Bolton, to show them how cool it all is, breaks out into a choreographed rendition of “Old Time Rock and Roll.” It’s a premise that’s funny on its own, and then halfway through we cut back to before the show and see Bolton being put through his paces by an insane choreographer played by Michael Sheen, who is only teaching them the dance moves because he is afraid some punks might show up and needs Bolton to be prepared. If you are a fan of Comedy Bang Bang’s sometimes aggressive anti-humour and The Lonely Island’s unpredictability then you’ll be, like me, pretty much laughing the entire duration, even if sometimes it’s simply because of how ridiculous the whole thing is.
Bolton is not a natural actor but the deck is stacked around him with appearances by Maya Rudolph, Andy Samberg (as Kenny G), Adam Scott, Will Forte, Sarah Silverman, Janaene Garafolo, Casey Wilson, Fred Armison, Andy Richter, Sinbad, Eric Andre, and Randall Park among others. There are some great original songs as well as Bolton performing some of his hits, and there is something appelaing and yet humourless about Bolton’s dramatic singing voice, especially when it is used as a non sequitar to express an emotion or to describe what the couch is for (snuggling!).
Overall: A very funny, very surreal comedy special that is unpredictable, weird, and hilarious. Bolton is game to laugh at himself and his own image, and also has great comic timing. The special isn’t perfect and there’s a weird chocolate shop sketch in the middle that doesn’t go anywhere and seems disconnected from everything else. Otherwise though this is a great bit of entertainment for Valentine’s Day if you’re a fan of Bolton/Comedy Bang Bang/The Lonely Island, want to get in the mood for love, or help Santa by conceiving a few of the 75,000 babies by Christmas.
Featured Image: Netflix