Review: Bounty Hunters, Sky 1

The Jack Whitehall quest for global domination continues with his new comedy-thriller in which he plays bookish boffin Barnaby who unwittingly gets sucked into the violent criminal underworld.

And it's not a bad comedy-thriller at all. Written by Whitehall and his Bad Education co-writer Freddy Syborn it plays very much to Whitehall's strengths but then adds a few more thrills to the mix thanks to Rosie Perez as Nina Morales, a hard-bitten New Yorker who teams up with Barnaby to retrieve the £50,000 Barnaby paid out for what he thought was a bargain but turned out to be treasure looted and sold by Jihadists. In a subplot she has her own problems, a drugs cartel is after her she shot a couple of their members. Things soon, erm, escalate.

In the opening episode Whitehall doesn't step too far out of his comfort zone as the naive innocent who becomes embroiled in a deadly game. There are a few nice character-establishing chuckles before he has even spoken. He has to clamber out of the back of his tiny car Mr Bean-style when it is stuck between two other cars. And his ringtone is The Archers theme.

The story soon gathers pace and there are a number of nice cameos. From Sophie Thompson as Barnaby's mum, Doc Brown as a policeman and the aforementioned Perezwho brings her streetwise smarts to London and beyond as Nina when she and Barnaby go on the run. Robert Lindsay - always a sign of quality – plays Barnaby's dad, although for most of the episode he is flat on his back in hospital.

It's all pretty throwaway stuff. And some throw-up stuff too - Barnaby vomits what looks like Cheesy Wotsits over a dead body at one point. There is also some hardcore violence lobbed in to keep the attention of fans of Narcos of The Wire. You can imagine Cary Grant or Hugh Grant playing the role of Barnaby in a different era, though they probably wouldn't have spewed Cheesy Wotsits over a corpse.

Whitehall can certainly hold his own as an actor, which is probably no surprise after his decent performance in Decline and Fall. The only big surprise? No cameo from his ubiquitous real-life dad Michael. So far anyway.

Review: Bounty Hunters, Wednesdays from October 25, Sky 1, 10pm.




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