Sorry, that should be — why Rob Schneider?
The former “Saturday Night Live” cast member who is best known for his films in the exalted “Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo” series, now writes, directs and stars — as an exaggerated version of himself, of course — on “Real Rob,” which begins streaming Tuesday on Netflix.
The eight-episode series follows Rob as he balances his career and home life, with his real-life wife Patricia Azarcoya Arce and their two-year-old daughter. “Real Rob” has elements of “Louie” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm’s” heightened reality, but the only thing that sets it apart from its predecessors is that it’s not very good. Unfunny scenes are broken up with equally unfunny stand-up.
I screened three episodes (five, seven and eight) of “Real Rob” and they felt like the equivalent of a restaurant sending a free dish that I never asked for. And to which I’m allergic.
Patricia, who is Mexican and noticeably younger than her husband, is portrayed as something of a novelty, and Schneider taps into the same ill-advised cultural humor that was at play in his short-lived CBS comedy “Rob.” In one scene, Rob calls George Lopez (who must have owed Schneider a favor) for advice since he, too, is of Mexican descent. The fact that Azarcoya Arce, a co-writer and executive producer on the show, is presumably in on the joke doesn’t make it any funnier.
“Real Rob’s” jokes are either out of nowhere or completely hackneyed. A typical gag finds viewers forced to watch Schneider’s assistant, Jamie (co-writer/producer Jamie Lissow), endure a phone call while on the toilet with a clear case of food poisoning.
Rob’s agent, Andy (Adam Korson), is a sleazy cad, and just to make sure you’re certain of that fact, he’s pictured getting serviced underneath his desk by an assistant, who appears (mostly from the waist down) a few scenes later to bring him his lunch.
Look, you know what you’re getting into when you watch a Rob Schneider comedy. The late Roger Ebert panned the “Deuce Bigalow” sequel with such fervor that the review later inspired the title of the film critic’s 2007 book “Your Movie Sucks.” Schneider has built a career on gross-out and politically incorrect humor, but it feels especially stale in this endeavor.
If “Real Rob” is disappointing, it’s only because Schneider, who reportedly self-financed the project, appears to have put so much work into it.
The series involves a meta subplot that has Schneider pursuing a multi-camera sitcom about — you guessed it — life with his younger, Mexican wife. When the network suits add unexpected elements to the story, Rob angrily calls his agent, who tells him, “You have to admit, you haven’t exactly been very visible in the last couple years.”
“I can’t just do stuff, just to do stuff,” Rob counters.
It’s a real head-scratching moment, because that’s exactly what “Real Rob” feels like.
Real Rob (8 episodes) begins streaming Tuesday on Netflix.