Having grown up on screen through a series of impressive teen roles, Britt Robertson is a young actress who looks destined for stardom. Yet “Girlboss,” her solo vehicle, represents a flawed design, as this Netflix half-hour about a conflicted 20-something at best feels like a diluted version of “Girls.”
Adapted from Sophia Amoruso’s book, “Girlboss” bills itself as a “real loose” retelling of real events. The series focuses on Sophia (Robertson), aimlessly living in San Francisco in 2006, when she seizes on the idea of reselling vintage clothing online under the company name Nasty Gal.
Amoruso eventually parlayed the idea into a thriving enterprise that has since fallen on hard times, but season one is content to narrowly focus on her early struggles.
“Adulthood is where dreams go to die,” the 23-year-old Sophia says in voiceover, sounding like pretty much every TV member of her cohort. That includes chafing at the notion of holding a steady job and behaving resentfully toward her dad (Dean Norris, also her co-star in “Under the Dome”), who seems mystified by all the angst, asking, “You’re young, smart, pretty. What’s the problem?”
Series-wise, the problem is that “Girlboss” basically careens from one interlude to the next, following the ins and outs of Sophia’s start-up efforts, her “casual” relationship with aspiring musician Shane (Johnny Simmons) and the support she receives from party-gal friend Annie (Ellie Reed).
What the show lacks is any significant dramatic momentum, or barring that, anything to make this feel like more than just another nondescript coming-of-age saga — in this case, one teased out over 13 not-all-that-binge-worthy installments.
Having appeared in numerous series and the movies “The Space Between Us” and “Tomorrowland,” Robertson is certainly worthy of a showcase. It’s just that there’s not that much heft in the situations or her character. Nor do a series of smallish roles by more seasoned players, such as RuPaul Charles, Jim Rash and Norm Macdonald, add ballast to a show where genuine emotion is largely conveyed via musical cues.
Created by Kay Cannon (“Pitch Perfect”), and counting Charlize Theron among its producers, “Girlboss” clearly wants to be another contemplation of that delicate period on the cusp of full-fledged adulthood, which is where “Girls” began and ended.
While this Netflix show has the desire and outward trappings to be its spiritual heir in addressing that moment, “Girlboss” ultimately feels too loose, and thinly drawn, to close the deal.
“Girlboss” premieres April 21 on Netflix.