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EntertainmentColumnistsVerne Gay

His three sons pay him to be a dad

SONS OF TUCSON: Ron Snuffkin (Tyler Labine, L),

SONS OF TUCSON: Ron Snuffkin (Tyler Labine, L), a charming but wayward schemer, becomes a dad-for-hire when three brothers (L-R: Frank Dolce, Benjamin Stockham and Matthew Levy) find themselves in need of a father in the new comedy SONS OF TUCSON premiering Sunday, March 14 (9:30-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ( Patrick Wymore/FOX) Photo Credit: FOX Photo/

THE SHOW "Sons of Tucson"

WHEN | WHERE Sunday at 9:30 p.m. on Fox/5

REASON TO WATCH Strictly for Tyler Labine ("Reaper") fans.

WHAT IT'S ABOUT Ron Snuffkin (Labine) is a woebegone dude who's taken up residence in the back of his station wagon, while working days at a Tucson sporting goods store, spending his lunch hour avoiding a loan shark. Then, one fine Tucson day, three young brothers wander into the store in search of a dad. The Gunderson guys - Brandon (Matthew Levy) 13, Gary (Frank Dolce), 11, and Robby (Benjamin Stockham), 8 - are budding con men who take after their incarcerated father. But for now, they need a new father (mom is MIA) to get them out of some school scrap.

They don't need him long - just an hour or so - and after a brief character check, they decide Ron will do just fine. Ron needs the dough and a roof over his head, so one well-executed con suggests another: Why not move in with the boys, who pay the rent-a-dad a weekly retainer?

MY SAY Labine can be one funny guy, but he also can be one major hair shirt, too. This is to say that 'ol Tyler is an acquired taste - and easily was during his run as Bert Wysocki on the CW's "Reaper."

He's a big, blustery, physical actor absent subtlety or finesse who rolls over fellow actors like the Zamboni rolls over ice. But any actor - good, bad or hair shirty - needs material, and the material is just not strong enough here. There are some funny moments, notably a raucous tumble through the house of Ron's wonderfully eccentric granny, but hardly enough of them. Moreover, there are massive lapses in logic. Foremost, how do three children go through a school system without anyone - teacher, principal, administrators, even the bus driver - noticing that, umm, they don't have parents?

BOTTOM LINE Mildly amusing, though take out some of the harsh language and you've got more of a Disney Channel or TeenNick series than a memorable Fox one.

GRADE C

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