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Minx Review: Fizzy HBO Max Comedy Makes Equal Rights a Real Turn-On

Jake Johnson and Ophelia Lovibond play an unlikely pair in the '70s-set series

Kelly Connolly
Oscar Montoya, Jessica Lowe, Idara Victor, and Jake Johnson, Minx

Oscar Montoya, Jessica Lowe, Idara Victor, and Jake Johnson, Minx

Katrina Marcinowski/HBO Max

The first buzz I heard about Minx was about a man and his looks. The man: Jake Johnson. The looks: a bright array of '70s 'fits he sports to play savvy porn mag publisher Doug Renetti, who teams up with buttoned-up second-wave feminist Joyce Prigger (Ophelia Lovibond) to create the first erotic magazine aimed at women. Early in the HBO Max comedy's snappy pilot, Doug tells Joyce that if she wants anyone to listen to her, she has to "hide the medicine," spicing up her academic articles about women's empowerment with a little male objectification. Since the show is getting word of mouth on the strength of Johnson's unbuttoned shirts, it's safe to say his character is on to something.

Minx, premiering Thursday on HBO Max, is as fun as Doug wants the magazine to be: a bouncy, feel-good show that taps into the elation of creating something new where there was nothing before. It's a workplace comedy about artists and activists who have as much reason to talk about equal rights as they do to talk about naked men, and they do plenty of both (there's a lot of full-frontal male nudity on this show, all of it frank and celebratory). The show pulls viewers into a colorful world lit up by groovy costumes designed by Beth Morgan (GLOW) and retro-cool sets from production designer Jefferson Sage (Freaks and Geeks). Minx doesn't gloss over the issues Joyce is so passionate about, but it doesn't treat them like a drag, either. 




  • Characters are endearing
  • Story moves at a tight pace
  • Costumes and set design are fun and richly detailed
  • The show's sense of humor is already well formed


  • Johnson's character is almost not flawed enough

As Joyce, Lovibond nails a tricky part, taking a woman who can be frustrating as hell and making her endearing, not only to the audience but also, crucially, to the characters around her. Johnson plays Doug with wry, tacky charm, a porn guy with a heart of gold — when Joyce questions why he'd want to talk to women, he says, as though he's just discovered it, "There are a lot of you out there!" They're surrounded by a smart, funny ensemble, including Idara Victor as Doug's right-hand woman, Tina; Jessica Lowe as model-turned-budding activist Bambi; Oscar Montoya as photographer Richie; and Lennon Parham, wringing laughs out of every line, as Joyce's sister, Shelly, a bored housewife who nudges her sister toward a little fun. 

Creator Ellen Rapaport gets the band together quickly; this isn't one of those streaming shows that take a full season to come to the point. If they want this magazine to break new ground, they'll have to be first, and the show feels their urgency without ever seeming rushed. Minx zips along so lightly that there isn't time to think too much about anything that could have been a hangup in a less entertaining show. Is it a problem that Doug is the one who's almost always right, and that Joyce, at least in the beginning, has so much more to learn than Doug does? It could be eventually, but so far it's just part of their opposites-attract appeal. Minx makes the medicine go down easy.

Premieres: Thursday, March 17 on HBO Max (two episodes will be released each Thursday)
Who's in it: Ophelia Lovibond, Jake Johnson, Idara Victor, Jessica Lowe, Oscar Montoya, Lennon Parham
Who's behind it: Ellen Rapaport (creator/writer/EP), Paul Feig (EP) 
For fans of: Feel-good empowerment, full-frontal nudity
How many episodes we watched: 5 out of 10