Review: "Happy Endings"

Reason to watch: New comedy with Elisha Cuthbert (Kim Bauer from "24").

When/Where: Tonight at 9:30 on ABC/7

'Happy Endings' isn't married to laughs

Forget who gets to keep the ring -

Forget who gets to keep the ring - when a couple splits, the real question is, who gets to keep the friends? ABC's new comedy, "Happy Endings," premieres April 13, 2011. (Credit: ABC)

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Alex (Cuthbert) and Dave (Zachary Knighton, "FlashForward") are about to get married when Alex -- for reasons to be explored -- ditches him at the altar. He goes into a bit of a tailspin, but pulls out of it, thanks to Alex's sister, Jane (Eliza Coupe, "Scrubs"); her husband, Brad (Damon Wayans Jr.), and his gay friend Max (Adam Pally). The gang's loyalties are pressed by the Dave/Alex split, while Jane and Brad start to wonder whether their plan to move to the suburbs (they live in Chicago) and start a family might not be such a good idea after all.

MY SAY "Happy Endings" is one of those hyper-caffeinated trifles that forces your brain into a series of aimless associations that before long take you to places far away from the show you're supposed to be watching in the first place. Such as: Man, Damon Wayans Jr. looks like his old man, and I wonder what he's up to now that "My Wife and Kids" has been off the air a while, and speaking of shows off the air, I really miss "24," but I definitely don't miss Kim Bauer, who was pretty much more annoying than the terrorists. And by the way, doesn't Zachary Knighton really look like Jason Bateman, who was in "Arrested Development," which was a great show, while "Happy Endings" most definitely, positively, assuredly is not?

OK, so what happened with this misfire? Specifically: "Happy Endings" is so full of vim, zip and vigor that you just want to throttle the sucker until it promises to stop with the endless romcom prattle about relationships, bros, sex, booze and pop culture (two references to John Mayer alone over two episodes).

BOTTOM LINE There's desperation here, and if "Happy Endings" would slow down long enough to let itself breathe, it might find a footing.

GRADE C-

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