Review: "Wilfred"

Reason to watch: Elijah Wood, and his neighbor's dog.

When/Where: Thursday night at 10 on FX

'Wilfred': Elijah Wood and a talking dog

L-R: Elijah Wood as "Ryan"; and Jason Gann

L-R: Elijah Wood as "Ryan"; and Jason Gann as " Wilfred" in "Wilfred , airing on FX. (Credit: Michael Becker / FX/)

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Wilfred is a dog of indefinable breed with a wicked sense of humor and a taste for beer, cannabis and trouble. To all the world, he's a mutt owned by Jenna (Fiona Gubelmann), an attractive 20-something who indulges the beast's every whim (save the beer and pot; he scores that on his own). Only Ryan (Wood) sees and hears Wilfred (Jason Gann) as if he were another human (with an Australian accent).

How Ryan, Jenna's next-door neighbor, got to this point is another story: Miserable with his life, he attempts suicide by downing a bottle of pills. The attempt failed but apparently altered his consciousness. Bit by bit, both become close pals as Ryan works up the courage to ask Jenna out. Gann co-created and starred in the Aussie TV version on which this is based.

MY SAY If FX were to remake "Mr. Ed" -- a hit show about a talking horse from the mid-1960s -- "Wilfred" would be the result. Except this version of Mr. Ed would be flatulent, talk dirty, drink vodka (by the gallon) and very much like the ladies (human ladies, not fillies). Ed would be sneaky and mean-spirited, but also good-hearted and lovable in his own raunchy, equine way. Meanwhile, Wilbur Post (Ed's owner) would naturally be Ryan.

Fans who worship at the altar of "Lord of the Rings" will at first be shocked by the sight of Wood in the presence of a talking dog, but he is, nonetheless, perfect as the sweet, wan, confused guy who needs that dog to tell him what women think. At first, Gann's Wilfred seems like a long "Saturday Night Live" sketch, but the success of this canine portrait is in the details. Wilfred very much is a dog -- with plenty of cat attributes, too.

BOTTOM LINE Fair warning, dear reader: "Wilfred" is intensely vulgar, and only guys around the age of 28 whose ears, and sensibilities, are covered with scar tissue will find nothing offensive. Otherwise, it's very funny.

GRADE B+

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