'Owner's Manual' review: Men in machines

Ed Sanders stars in " Owner's Manual" Season Ed Sanders stars in " Owner's Manual" Season 1, Episode 1. Photo Credit: AMC

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REVIEW

SERIES PREMIERE "Owner's Manual"

WHEN | WHERE Thursday night at 10 on AMC

REASON TO WATCH Massive machines, huge horsepower, cool nicknames, trash talking, side bets and surges of adrenaline -- it's guy time!

WHAT IT'S ABOUT But what girl doesn't like watching guys screw up? Which is, of course, the fate of both hosts here, as they try to instant-fly stunt planes, operate locomotives or otherwise exhibit a manly new mastery each week. Marcus Hunt of HGTV's "Hammer Heads" is the one who's "smart enough to read an owner's manual," while Ed Sanders, the Brit from ABC's "Extreme Makeover : Home Edition," boasts he'll "always rely on years of experience." Then he begs pointers from the experts putting the pair through the "challenges" they must conquer before being allowed to hit the accelerator.

In Thursday night's "Top Gun"-style premiere, they need to execute an aileron roll (left-right

360-degrees) and a loop (head-over-heels 360, like a roller coaster), before they can play dogfight. Next week, it's picking up boxcars and caboose to take their 150-ton locomotive through town. (Don't assume the guys always achieve their goals.)

MY SAY "Owner's Manual" looks as sharp as you'd expect from cinematic-minded AMC -- whip-pans, slo-mo, montage, animations, infographics. Sounds great, too, with heart-pumping action music and industrial power sounds.

Best of all, homework-doer Marcus (aka Sweet Cheeks) and scoffer Ed (or is that English Muffin?) are natural bicker-buds throughout, adding life and laughs to each half-hour that flies (or rolls) by. They brag, they belittle, they rib each other. They even find ways to work as a team, helping each other through the worst of it, while nimbly keeping the show -- if not the train -- firmly on track.

BOTTOM LINE Guess what? "Real men hug."

GRADE A

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