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TV Show Review – Guys With Kids
Rating: 2 (out of 5). Guys with Kids is a new comedy from Emmy Award-winning executive producer Jimmy Fallon, about three 30-something dads who try to hold on to their youth as they face the responsibilities of having kids. Almost all critics found this to be a “can miss” comedy.
The New York Times says “some of the jokes are amusing, but the show is a traditional sitcom that looks slightly dated.”
The Hollywood Reporter was uninspired, calling it “a one-note joke.” They lamented “It never garners more than a smile at best because it’s so patently not unusual” as well as “it’s less funny because the pretense that it should be unique is insulting. It’s 2012, not 1955.” The Reporter noted this is “Obviously a limited-potential series.” They closed their distaste by noting it “works on paper but not in the pilot. It’s a show that should never have been put on paper to begin with.”
Variety also viewed it with disfavor, calling it “broad and silly”, remarking it “appears to exist largely on the basis of one sight gag — the image of three guys in a bar exulting over a game, high-fiving while wearing baby carriers.” Counting Jimmy Fallon among its producers, “it’s another attempt at a throwback, easy-to-market concept — harmless, but about as inspiring as any forgotten sitcom from the Reagan Era.” The show’s execution “brings such a stale approach to sexual politics as to feel dated by the first act break.” Variety was cool with it’s praise, noting “spare time is precious for harried parents — probably too important to squander on a date with ‘Guys With Kids’.”
The Chicago Tribune hated it, saying “‘Guys with Kids’ is the sitcom equivalent of a loaded diaper. It stinks.” The show “feels more like one overlong ‘Saturday Night Live’ skit then a real sitcom.” They continued, ranting “the crew seems to be clueless, opting for a hook that would have been funny in, I don’t know, the 1950s.” The review revealed “I’d rather babysit a dozen children between the ages of 2 and 10 then sit through more of this.”
The San Francisco Chronicle did not like it, saying “There’s not a single laugh-worthy line in the entire show”, adding “The only thing ‘Guys With Kids’ has going for it is that parents may be able to identify with the concept.” They frowned, concluding “the show certainly couldn’t survive on the basis of its humor, because there is none.”
USA Today found it weak, describing it as “an idea in search of a show. And a better idea.” This offering is “as bland, generic and forgettable as that name implies…Guys Without Jokes would be even more accurate.” They announced “If only there was something else to discover here: one tiny new insight on fatherhood, perhaps, or one actually funny moment.” Instead, it’s “all tried and tired jokes about smelly diapers and kids running wild and guys trying, without any visible signs of success, to be good fathers and husbands.” They warned ”watch something else.”
Newsday was not onboard calling “it a crying shame…. everybody talks in sitcom voice: Too loud. Too insistent. Too google-eyed.” This debut is “NBC’s attempt to get back in the live-audience sitcom game. But ‘Frasier,’ it ain’t.” They were uncertain, admitting “You’d think there’d be plenty of character-based humor in situations ….. Not here.” In closing, Newday found it unpromising, stating “There’s long-tired sitcom shtick and incessant transition shots of the outsides of buildings. Nothing to see here. Move on.”
The Boston Globe felt it was inadequate, saying “The most pointlessly rehashed concept of the past few years has got to be the 30-something-men-acting-like-kids sitcom.” They sadly proclaimed this edition of the show “as generic as its title.”
The Washington Post complained “It’s precisely what the title says: just new iterations of the same spit-up and teething jokes.” They suggested “The rest of the gang, including the other babies, should just get out of their way. Then we’d magically have that thing no major network seems capable of ordering: a funny comedy about black people.”
The Kansas City Star was more upbeat, recognizing “ ‘Guys With Kids’ know what they’re doing, sort of. It might get messy, but if you don’t sweat the details, everyone will have a little fun.” The pilot features “A traditional, multi-camera sitcom feels a little retro these days.” While the topic “isn’t breaking new ground with its man-love triangle, Their dynamic works.” The Star gives is a prohibitive thumbs-up, “OK, these guys mostly know what they’re doing. It’ll be fine.”
The Huffington Post found it substandard, calling it “ferociously awful. Where’s the humor?” The writing left them questioning “What rock have the people who created this show been living under?”, adding “It’s neither unusual or necessarily hysterical to see men caring for the their children.” Their negativity continued, admitting “the vibe is both manic and tired, and overall, the decent cast is given nothing funny to do.” In the end, they frowned “All things considered, if you’re going to watch a very broad comedy on NBC, make it the one with the monkey.”
The Tampa Bay Times labeled it behind the times, calling the problem “this series’ insane premise… What’s next, a show about women registering to vote?”
The Knoxville News Sentinel was undecided, and stated “When it comes to personality, “Guys” has plenty to spare. It’s well cast.” Unfortunately, this sitcom “lacks in just about every other area.” The cast “has a very nice and organic chemistry, making ‘Guys’ tolerable.” They felt, however, that “the canned laugh track and predictable writing don’t do them justice.”
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes, ““Guys with Kids” plays the old guys-can’t-raise-children stereotype, one so tired it’s no surprise there are few laughs to be had.”
The Miami Herald likes the show, noting that “while the novelty [of men being unable to manage children] may be gone, but the concept, executed well, is as hilarious as ever. And (pardon the expression) boy, does Guys With Kids execute it well.”
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New on VOD
Here are the new VOD films for the week of April 22, 2014. Click on a movie title for more information, trailers and reviews.
Bettie Page Reveals All. Rating: 4 (out of 5). The world’s greatest pinup model, Bettie Page, shares the true story of how free expression became the target of government witch-hunts and how she overcame them to help launch America’s sexual revolution. The film comes to VOD on Tuesday, April 22. While some of the reviews note that the film is lacking in production value, virtually all are impressed with the content of the film. As the Los Angeles Times notes, the film is a “highly watchable portrait.” Starring: Bettie Page, Dita Von Tease, Todd Oldham, Hugh Hefner. Director: Mark Mori. Rating: R. Genre: Documentary. Reviews, video and more.
Blue Ruin. Rating: 4 (out of 5). A beach bum finds his quiet life turned upside down by a very upsetting news, and travels back to his childhood home to seek revenge. Proving to be an ineffective assassin, he ends up in a brutal fight to protect his estranged family. The film premieres on VOD on Friday, April 25. The critics are very impressed with the film, the majority citing Saulnier’s direction as promising. As ScreenDaily says, “Blue Ruin is distinguished by the way it allies solid storytelling to fine craftsmanship.” Starring: Macon Blair, Devin Ratray, Amy Hargreaves, Kevin Kolack, Eve Plumb, David W. Thompson, Brent Werzner, Stacy Rock, Sidne Anderson. Director: Jeremy Saulnier. Rating: Unrated. Genre: Thriller. Reviews, video and more.
Escape From Tomorrow comes to DVD and Blu-ray on April 29. The film tells the story of a middle-aged American husband and father of two who lost his job. To escape from reality and to keep the news from his family, he decides not to forgo their trip to the happiest place on Earth. But things turn bad when his sanity is challenged and their trip is turned into a nightmare. Interesting if, for no other reason, than to see what a film that was surreptitiously shot at Disney World looks like. Best Buy has the Blu-ray (and DVD) or, if you prefer Amazon for the DVD, click here.
Filth. Rating: 3 (out of 5). Detective Sergeant Bruce Robertson is a corrupt cop who desperately wants a promotion. He will do absolutely anything to get that promotion, even stealing his colleagues’ wives and exposing their secrets. But when his past begins to catch up to him, he begins to lose control. Watch for Filth on VOD starting Thursday, April 24. The critics were mixed on the film but many were impressed with James McAvoy performance and, according to The Times, “James McAvoy gives his best performance to date as a morally and physically decaying detective in this hallucinogenic adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s novel.” Starring: James McAvoy, Jamie Bell, Imogen Poots, Jim Broadbent, Joanne Froggatt, Shirley Henderson, Eddie Marsan, John Sessions. Director: Jon S. Baird. Rating: R Genre: Drama, Comedy, Crime. Reviews, video and more.
Gambit. Rating: 2 (out of 5). A remake of the 1966 action film, Colin Firth and Cameron Diaz stars in this film about a British thief who discovers that no plan is infallible after he recruits a beautiful woman to help him steal a statue from a wealthy widower. Although his accomplice resembles the target’s late wife, things start to go wrong once their plans begin. The film premieres on VOD on Friday, April 25, and has not won much (if any) praise from the critics. According to The Guardian, “An awful lot of talent has been put to waste here.” Starring: Colin Firth, Cameron Diaz, Alan Rickman, Tom Courtenay, Stanley Tucci. Director: Michael Hoffmann. Rating: PG-13. Genre: Drama. Reviews, video and more.