'Mad Love's' sidekicks steal the show

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Jason Biggs and Sarah Chalke star in

Jason Biggs and Sarah Chalke star in "Mad Love," premiering Monday, Feb. 14, 2010 on CBS/2. Credit: CBS Photo Photo Credit: CBS Photo/

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On some enchanted evening, Ben Parr (Biggs) meets Kate Swanson (Chalke) on the observation deck at the Empire State Building and . . . the fireworks quite literally go off over their heads. It is love at first sight, and all that.

On their first date, he brings along his best buddy, Larry Munsch (Labine, "Reaper") and she brings along her BFF, Connie Grabowski (Greer, "Arrested Development"). Larry and Connie do not hit it off. But . . . these two wisecrackers may have more in common than Ben and Kate.

MY SAY The great screwball comedies are more than 70 years old - think Rosalind Russell and Cary Grant in "His Girl Friday" - while romantic-comedy-of-errors are even a bit older (think Shakespeare). This newbie from brother-

sister team Matt and Jamie Tarses trots along to dust off the conventions all over again.

The Tarseses are smart and experienced enough - Jamie ran ABC Entertainment, Matt, "Scrubs," and their dad is TV programming legend Jay Tarses - to know that conventions can quickly curdle into "conventional" if the writing is lousy and the acting worse.

But with "Mad Love," both writing and acting are above average. Greer and Labine are both naturally funny actors, and give off plenty of sparks here, too. Neither has previously had a hit series. But with a CBS Monday night time slot, they also may have just scored their first.

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BOTTOM LINE In fact, Labine and Greer completely hijack the show, and almost threaten to turn Biggs (you'll remember him from "American Pie") and Chalke ("Scrubs." "Roseanne") into props. A well-made and skillfully executed sitcom. Oh - almost forgot - fun, too.


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