Remember that show Men of a Certain Age? With Ray Romano and Scott Bakula and Andre Braugher? I liked it. It dealt with a subject you don’t often see on television: guys getting older, and the comedy and sadness of that. But it didn’t catch on. And I think I know why. It didn’t take place in Belize.
And it didn’t have them running around figuring out how to extract themselves from a messy situation involving drug dealers, a miniature assassin, corrupt cops, bad drivers, slow car-rental employees and a dead friend from college.
If it had, it would be a lot like the newish Amazon series Mad Dogs. And it’d be worth watching.
“Amid all the craziness of cutting off your dead friend’s feet, trying to sound intimidating to drug dealers, attempting to jumpstart yachts and wrestling a dwarf, there’s a lot of the universal stuff that any grown-ass man can relate to…”
Mad Dogs is great. Anyone could like it. But you’ll really appreciate it if you’re a guy between the ages of 30 and 50. Because it follows five college pals who are now in their 40s. Four of them travel down to Belize to visit one of them, Milo (Billy Zane), who seems to be a true baller. He’s got the kickass house, the awesome pool, the slick SUV, the jaw-dropping ocean views outside his front door. Only, he’s got his fingers in some dangerous pots.
And the rest of the crew—played by familiar faces Steve Zahn (Saving Silverman), Michael Imperioli (The Sopranos), Ben Chaplin (The Truth About Cats & Dogs) and Romany Malco (The 40-Year-Old Virgin)—become entangled in it. It feels a bit like Breaking Bad. There’s a lot of humor in the “regular guys trying to do criminal things” vein. (It’s actually based on a British series of the same name—Chaplin was in that one too—and it’s from the guy, Shawn Ryan, who did The Shield.)
But what makes Mad Dogs really work, in addition to the excellent chemistry between the cast, is that amid all the craziness of cutting off your dead friend’s feet, trying to sound intimidating to drug dealers, attempting to jumpstart yachts and wrestling a dwarf, there’s a lot of the universal stuff that any grown-ass man can relate to: old grudges between friends, regrets and disappointments about your personal and professional lives, hair loss, love handles, nagging shoulder injuries from intramural softball in the ’90s, not having as much money as you’d like, and other baggage. Getting into all of this stuff—in an exotic, high-stakes setting—is what makes it fun.
These guys are staring death (or at least long prison sentences) in the face, but they also seem to be having the time of their lives. Because for men, running away from drug dealers with your best friends from college isn’t just exciting. It’s therapeutic.