Steve Carell's 'Riot' review: Goofy improv fun

From left, guest star and Executive producer Steve From left, guest star and Executive producer Steve Carell joins Meryl Hathaway and Rob Gleeson in a game of "Slide Set" in the series premiere of "Riot." Photo Credit: Fox / Ray Mickshaw

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REVIEW

SERIES PREMIERE "Riot"

WHEN | WHERE Tuesday night at 9 on Fox/5

WHAT IT'S ABOUT You know you've been wishing for a sort of improv-comedy "Wipeout," and here it is -- an adrenaline-fueled ad-lib sketch game in which comic players dive into 22-degree-slope mud pits, get yanked to the rafters via hooks in their jumpsuits, and form alphabet letters on the floor like conjoined mimes.

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Subjecting themselves to these nonsense stunts are nuts like the premiere's Steve Carell (also a series producer) and "Office" co-star Andy Buckley. (Future faces include Cheryl Hines, Michael Ian Black, Mayim Bialik, D.L. Hughley and Andy Dick.) Four lesser-known laugh-seekers join the star pair in trying to keep their balance (a 22-degree set tilt is more extreme than it sounds), guess movie titles mimed in shadow, or sustain dialogue in which each sentence contains the title of a Michael Jackson song. (Pop culture obsession rewarded!)

MY SAY For performers, this is basically a "be funny while we mess with you" workout. For viewers, it feels like a drinking game, smoking game, your-vice-here game. Giddy host Rove McManus goads play in his Aussie accent till "Riot" dissolves into namesake bedlam.

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Is there anything great here? No. Is it goofy fun? Yes.

BOTTOM LINE Silly fun in the summertime.

GRADE B

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