Move over Modern Family, you've got some new neighbors on the ABC block — and their boxes are packed with dysfunction. Family Tools premieres tonight at 8:30 and we’ve got all details on the how the half-hour sitcom is hoping to nail a lot of laughs as a part of ABC’s Wednesday comedy line-up.
The spring series follows Tony (J.K. Simmons), a handyman and business owner who is living with his sister (Remini) and her dopey yet loveable son (Johnny Pemberton). When Tony has a heart attack, he’s forced to pass his beloved business over to his kind-hearted screw-up of a son Jack (Kyle Bornheimer), who then moves back home to live with all of them.
Series star Leah Remini tells Hollywood.com that the Sheas/McCormicks aren't the average nuclear family living together under one roof, but that's what she loves most about Family Tools. “It’s about family — loving your family and fighting with your family. Each one is different but it’s all about the love and keeping it together,” she tells us. “[Family Tools] has dynamics that anybody can recognize, like, 'Oh, I have that kind of relationship with my brother, my aunt, or my mom.' I think it’s getting back to those traditional family dynamics — no matter what the combination is.”
Remini promises that Family Tools is a perfect show for the entire family to sit down and watch together. “So much of television today I couldn’t really watch with my daughter. It’s a little bit pushing the envelope and ... these are conversations I don’t want to have with my 8-year-old right now,” she says. “I think people want to laugh; they want to sit down with their family and laugh… That’s what is different about [Family Tools]. It’s all about the connection to the family and how the family stays together and works together — well, tries to work together."
Don’t miss the series premiere of Family Tools on Wednesday, May 1 at 8:30 PM on ABC.
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Troubled by unfortunate event after unfortunate event The Watch sidesteps faux pas to come out on top as a consistently funny sci-fi comedy that doesn't let its high concept tangle up a bevy of one-liners. The script penned by Jared Stern Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg assumes you've seen a few movies before entering the theater (mainly any sci-fi movie made in the 1980s). "Summer movie logic" is the foundation for The Watch's ridiculous plot which finds four adult nincompoops teaming up to form a Neighborhood Watch trying to solve the murder of a local Costco employee and eventually pursuing a killer extraterrestrial. Instead of making sense of it all The Watch wisely focuses on its four leads: Ben Stiller Vince Vaughn Jonah Hill and The IT Crowd's Richard Ayoade — a quartet whose bro banter goes a long way in spicing up the dust-covered material. There's nothing revelatory to be found in The Watch but the cast's knack for improv a poetry of the profane makes the adventure worth…viewing.
Director Akiva Schaffer (Hot Rod) establishes his two-dimensional characters quickly and bluntly smashing together broad personality types like a Hadron Collider of cinematic comedy. Stiller's Evan is a micromanaging do-gooder who can't find time for his wife; Hill's Franklin is a mildly disturbed weapons enthusiast yearning to join the police; Ayoade is the quaint weirdo who joins the Watch to fill the void left by his divorce; Vince Vaughn is Vince Vaughn: a loud crass gent looking for a bit of male bonding. The ragtag team assembles to fight crime but they spend most of their time drinking beers in a minivan — an affair they dub "stakeouts." A perfect opportunity for banter.
For a movie about enforcing the law and alien invasions there's a surprising lack of action in The Watch. Long stretches of the film see the central players yapping back and forth about everything: Russian nesting dolls peeing in cans or the similar viscosities of alien goo and human excrement. Charisma goes a long way and Vaughn does much of the heavy lifting making up for lost time out of the spotlight (he's been virtually nonexistent since 2005's Wedding Crashers). The man spits out jokes like no other — the rest of the cast barely keeps up. Ayoade balances out Vaughn's bombardment with a tempered timed delivery that's uniquely British and rarely found on the American big screen. Even when nothing's happening in The Watch it's rarely boring.
The Watch is at its best when it goes a step further mixing the group in with outsiders and throwing them off their rhythm. Billy Crudup cuts loose as a creepy neighbor and its delightfully weird while the always-impressive Rosemarie DeWitt as Evan's wife Abby brings unexpected warmth to the couple's relationship. Sadly The Watch mishandles its greatest asset: the aliens. The film never finds a pitch perfect blend of comedy and science fiction (Ghostbusters or Galaxy Quest this is not); a few scenes where the two come together hint at the best possible scenario but more often than not The Watch avoids its sci-fi roots. A moment in which the guys haul a dead alien back to their man cave plays like an E.T.-inspired version of The Hangover credits. It's lewd and ridiculous but the rest of the film struggles to maintain that energy.
Stiller Vaughn Hill and Ayoade have all proved themselves able funnymen capable of taking weak and tired material up a notch which they're forced to do in every moment of The Watch. Schaffer can handle his talent but his direction isn't adding anything to the mix. By the third slow-motion-set-to-gangster-rap scene The Lonely Island member's obsession with non-cool-coolness is officially just an attempt at being cool (which is not all that funny). The Watch has a greater opportunity than most comedy blockbusters to go absolutely bonkers: it's rated R. But instead of taking its twist and running with it the movie plays it safe. In this case safe is non-stop jokes about the many facets of human reproduction.
MTV said Tuesday that it has greenlit five scripted and reality series along with renewing three freshman shows.
The trades report that among the new shows are a project from Ashton Kutcher's Katalyst and Hard Times, a scripted comedy from David Katzenberg.
The new shows Downtown Girls, Megadrive, the Kutcher-produced American Idiots, the scripted comedy Hard Times and an untitled comedy/variety project starring Rob Hoffman have been ordered to series at the network.
Returning shows Is She Really Going Out With Him?, Silent Library and Teen Cribs have been picked up.
Hard Times (referred to by programming chief Tony DiSanto as "Superbad for MTV") is the first single-camera comedy series for MTV and the first scripted series order under the diversification of the network’s development slate in the past few months.
"Is MTV shifting and becoming a scripted network? It's really not -- it's just that reality is not an ownable position anymore, and it can't be a default position. People expect us to present a diverse slate," DiSanto told Variety.
Katzenberg's Hard Times is written by Seth Grahame-Smith and stars Paul Iacono as a late-blooming loser struggling through teenage life.
"I think (David) has got a huge career ahead of him as a director," DiSanto said of Jeffrey Katzenberg's son.
Kutcher's American Idiots is an extreme competition reality series featuring a cast of 'idiots' who reenact popular viral videos for cash prizes.
The untitled Rob Hoffman show is described as In Living Color for the digital age. Hoffman's Urban Ninja online character has garnered more than 30 million views.
Downtown Girls is a reality sitcom chronicling the real-life exploits of five twentysomethings in New York. Megadrive is also a reality comedy. It follows thrill-seeking host Johnny Pemberton across the country as he tries to master the most extreme rides on land, sea and air.
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Remember when David Caruso left "NYPD Blue" in a massive firestorm of controversy to become a huge movie star? David Caruso "?
No, not the singer ... he’s an actor. He was on "NYPD Blue" before Jimmy Smits. No, seriously, there was a guy named David Caruso, and he was the star of the show. Remember?
Well, anyway, David Caruso returns to TV today in the made for cable nail-biter "Deadlocked" (8 p.m. EDT/PDT, TNT). Caruso plays the prosecutor in this courtroom thriller with a twist. Charles S. Dutton ("Roc," "Alien 3") -- one of the most convincing angry men in show business -- is the "twist." He plays an angry man, convinced his very guilty-looking son (whom Caruso is prosecuting) is not guilty, and he decides to hold the jury hostage until somebody (Caruso) proves he is right. It’s a cool plot, and both Caruso and Dutton deliver the tension enough to make the drama really work.
In other tube highlights:
"The Crocodile Hunter" has been on for years now, and if you've never seen it, you’ve probably heard the rumors. It’s a nature documentary show hosted by a very friendly and quite possibly insane Australian man named Steve Irwin. Irwin simply has absolutely no fear of any of the things we are all supposed to be at least a little bit afraid off -- like being eaten alive by wild animals, being bitten by poisonous snakes, etc. What’s worse is that his wife, Terri, comes along with him on most expeditions, and, well, let’s just say the episode where he gets repeatedly bitten by a tree snake that jumps into their boat, causing Terri to fall overboard with a giant, hungry crocodile in the water, was some pretty jaw-dropping television. Anyway, this is your chance to see for yourself, because it’s "Croc Week" on Animal Planet. A full week of the best episodes of "The Crocodile Hunter," starts today at 8 p.m. EDT/PDT. And by the way, you won’t be disappointed. The rumors are true.
Maybe it’s because they're usually so proper and easily embarrassed, but when British people do irreverent and outrageous comedy, they really go nuts. This week Comedy Central premieres a new comedy series from the nation that brought us "Monty Python" and "Absolutely Fabulous." And if you are a fan of those shows, "The League of Gentlemen" (10:30 p.m. EDT/PDT, Monday), while certainly new and different, might just be your (spiked) cup of tea. A headline in the local paper of the bizarro-fictional town of Royston Vasey reads, "New Road Planned - Strangers Expected." And the strangers do show up pretty quickly - some 60 odd characters (and we do mean "odd") including men, women and transvestites, all played by the show’s versatile and talented three-man troupe (Steve Pemberton, Mark Gatiss and Reece Shearsmith). It’s weird, it’s British, and it’s highly recommended.
A&E premieres a few new episodes of its popular, often interesting, sometimes not "Biography" series. Today at 8 p.m. EDT/PDT should be a good one as it profiles Sun Records founder Sam Phillips. Much of the most important American music of the second half of this century came from Phillips' Memphis-based label. And this hour gives Phillips' own accounts of those revolutionary early recording sessions with Elvis Prestley, Roy Orbison, B.B. King and Johnny Cash. Also premiering this week on "Biography": Ex-"Happy Days" heartthrob Henry Winkler (8 p.m. EDT/PDT, Monday) and current Royal heartthrob Prince William (8 p.m. EDT/PDT, Wednesday).
"Making the Band" (9:30 p.m. EDT/PDT, Friday, ABC) has its own take on the "Survivor" concept (round up a bunch of real people, dangle a prize for those who can last the season and callously kick one or more of them to the curb each week). Rather than surviving on a desert island, however, the cast of "Making the Band" must survive the even more cutthroat world of show business. The tension is high and the tears flow this week as the seven finalists for the roster of the boyband to be known as O-Town must be cut down to the final five. A little quick math says that two of them, the last two, must go. Man, this reality-based stuff can be tough sometimes. Even if you have no plans to buy an O-Town record when it comes out, this show can suck you in if you’re not careful.