Michelle Buteau: Welcome To Buteaupia Review: A colossal misfire
Rony Patra -
What is the story about?
Over the course of an hour, veteran comedian and actress Michelle Buteau examines relationships, marriage, motherhood and body-image issues through the lens of humour.
Most people outside the US know Buteau as a talented character actress whose forte is comedy. She has appeared in various movies over the last couple of years (most of them presented by Netflix) such as Someone Great, Always Be My Maybe and Work It. Her flair for comedy has never been in doubt.
With such high expectations, Buteau’s hour-long special Welcome to Buteaupia, however, feels like a massive let-down. Poking fun at marriage and motherhood is a staple trope employed by most female comedians, yet it is possible to look at the same issue through a fresh perspective. But this special has none of that.
Right from the start, Michelle Buteau pokes fun at body dysmorphia and emphasizes on how women are meant to celebrate themselves. But the entire track where she lampoons her husband Gijs' Dutch nationality is long and overdone. Also, the entire concept of a cross-cultural marriage has been done in much better fashion by other comedians such as Sindhu Vee. The jibes at Dutch pronunciation of English words are juvenile and in very bad taste.
The best bits of the special happen in the last 20 minutes, as Buteau pokes humour at the joys of motherhood, as well as surrogacy (there's a killer reference to the Hulu series The Handmaid's Tale), but such moments are few and far between. Overall, this is a massive disappointment.
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Director Page Hurwitz keeps the focus on Buteau in this special and makes a smart move highlighting the raucous reaction of the audience to her jokes. The set design is flashy and in tune with Buteau's vivacious personality.
There are one or two great lines, such as “My body is shaped like a drumstick emoji”. And if you have the patience to sit through the first half, the second half has some great moments where Buteau talks about having children via surrogacy and the challenges of motherhood.
This is an 18+ show. If you’re looking for family-friendly jokes, this show is not for you. The first 40 minutes are also very scattershot in terms of humour.
Did I enjoy it?
Honestly, I found it underwhelming. Buteau is usually funnier than this.
Do I recommend it?
I’d recommend this only for hardcore fans of Michelle Buteau. She's done better stuff than this. If you're curious, you can check out her 15-minute segment in the 2018 series The Comedy Lineup on Netflix.