Paul Rudd Splits in Two for a Binge-worthy Series
Bart Sullivan, 11-02-2019

Paul Rudd stars alongside a clone of himself in the Netflix series Living with Yourself.
Not since the comedic pairing of Hayley Mills and Hayley Mills in the original 1961 film The Parent Trap has there been a better duo than in Netflix’s newest series, Living with Yourself, starring Paul Rudd and Paul Rudd.

Addressing the themes of mental cleansing and life improvement, Living blends comedic romance and science fiction as Miles Elliot (Rudd) seeks an experimental treatment at a strip mall spa to help improve his self-esteem, work ethic, and marriage. Rather than waking from the treatment rejuvenated, though, he finds himself wrapped in plastic and buried alive, while an identical, yet better clone of himself is living in his place. Unlike previous guests of the spa, whose bodies were cloned before the original bodies were murdered, Miles failed to die, leaving him alive and working alongside his double to conquer one life.

While duplicating the main actor may be an overused trope (James Franco is having a current go of it in David Simon's The Deuce on HBO, and we mustn’t forget Oscar winner Michael Keaton’s turn as Doug Kinney in Harold Ramis’ Multiplicity), creator Timothy Greenberg breaks up the monotony of either version of Elliot by spending time with the different versions throughout their days—alone or together—making each their own full-fledged characters and aspects of the storyline itself, rather than a simple gimmick. While the original Miles is conflicted between having a better version of himself available to act in his place while providing time to accomplish his other dreams, the Miles clone deals with a crisis of identity, aware that he is not truly Miles, but still in love with the life he has been given, including its memories and his romantic relationship with Miles’ wife, Kate, played by Aisling Bea. Kate, meanwhile, is also conflicted, in love with both the unkempt and more professional versions of her husband. To examine each of these struggles throughout the story, each episode jumps back and forth in time to show different versions of events from each character’s point-of-view. By incorporating these versions of history, the series is able to include jokes later in the series without interrupting the story.

Through Living, Rudd continues to prove his ability to act in a variety of styles and mediums, returning to comedy after his role as Ant-Man in Avengers: Endgame. The actor effectively portrays both versions of Miles as separate characters—one a comedic slob, the other straight and narrow. Combined with a stellar cast of many unknown actors, this 8-episode series is truly worthy of an afternoon binge, leading up to its emotional finale, which hopefully convinces Netflix to renew.

Living with Yourself is currently available for streaming on Netflix.

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