'Family Tools' review: It's flat

"Family Tools" Pilot: Mixing family with business is

"Family Tools" Pilot: Mixing family with business is never easy, and Jack Shea is about to learn that lesson the hard way. When Jack's father, Tony, has a heart attack and is forced to hand over the keys to his beloved handyman business, Jack's eager to finally step up and make his father proud. Unfortunately Jack's past career efforts have been less than stellar, so everyone seems to be waiting for him to fail. (Credit: ABC)

THE SHOW "Family Tools"

WHEN|WHERE Premieres Wednesday night at 8:30 on ABC/7

WHAT IT'S ABOUT Jack Shea (Kyle Bornheimer) is a nice guy who hasn't quite figured out what he wants to do with his life -- but the decision is made for him when his father, Tony (J.K. Simmons), has a heart attack and has to be taken care of by his sister, Terry (Leah Remini), who has an eccentric son, Mason (Johnny Pemberton). Jack takes over Tony's handyman business, which comes with an added bonus, sort of -- Darren (Edi Gathegi), Tony's assistant.


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MY SAY "Family Tools" is based on the Britcom "White Van Man," which was a huge hit when it bowed in 2011, and ABC must be looking for a little magic of its own by sandwiching this between two bona fide homegrown winners ("The Middle" and "Modern Family"). In theory, the plan's a good one.

In practice, that probably won't matter at all because "Family Tools" is sitcom-by-committee -- one of those knockoffs where half a dozen producers, undoubtedly second-guessed by a similar number of network executives, grope toward some idea they think might be funny but in the end is really just sad. With "Tools," there is no discernible style, or point of view, or voice, or humor that ever rises to the level of originality. That's a shame and a waste because the leads -- Bornheimer ("Worst Week") especially -- are good enough to pick up any ball and score with it. Unless the ball is flat. This one is flat.

BOTTOM LINE Skip it.

GRADE D

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