Thursday, October 30, 2003

Now that we've had the first official cancellation of the Fall 2003 season, I suppose it's about time that I get on the ball and start reviewing some of them (before they're all gone)

And what better way to kick off the season of reviews than with the very first cancelled show, Luis, starring everyone's favorite Hey, It's That Guy!, Luis Guzmán. Now, I like Luis Guzmán as much as the next guy, and in most cases, significantly more. It certainly doesn't hurt that he tends to show up in the works of Steven Soderbergh and P. T. Anderson, but, even when appearing in lesser works, does an admirable job of improving the situation, which, really, is the sign of a truly impressive character actor.

So I shudder to think what this sitcom would be like if it starred, say, Paul Rodriguez as an irascible doughnut shop/apartment building owner. As it is, it's dreadful. Luis's daughter dates a listless white painter. Luis doesn't like him. Funny! Luis kicks him out of his apartment building. Funny! Luis comes to a reconciliation with his daughter. Touching!

It's pretty apparent that they're going for a tell-it-like-it-is All In The Family style sitcom, which has never been done well. Have you tried watching All In The Family lately? It hasn't aged well. In fact, I would hazard that of all the "beloved" sitcoms of the 70's and 80's it's the hardest to sit through today. If you're going to lift liberally from an old sitcom, make it a good one. Who wouldn't want to see Luis Guzmán find a sexy young djinni in a bottle? Or Luis Guzmán married to a witch? Or Luis Guzmán trapped on an island with Jim Backus (either a Weekend at Bernie's-style romp with Jim Backus' corpse or a digitally reanimated Jim Backus -- your call)? I should totally be a TV executive. Maybe my shows would stay on past October...

Rating: D- (I can't quite bring myself to give Luis Guzmán an 'F')

Reviewed by Padgett Arango
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