COMEDY "Dad Stop Embarrassing Me!"
WHERE Streaming on Netflix
WHAT IT'S ABOUT Brian Dixon (Jamie Foxx) is a successful entrepreneur and recent widower, thrust into the awkward position of being a full-time, or more attentive, dad to teenage daughter Sasha (Kyla-Drew). He's got some live-in support — his sister (Porscha Coleman, MTV's "Wild 'n Out"), and his own dad (David Alan Grier), who's got unorthodox parenting advice.
Foxx — who cocreated this with "Two and a Half Men" veteran Jim Patterson — has loosely based this on his real-life experiences with his own daughter, Corinne, also a producer on the series.
MY SAY Jamie Foxx hasn't had a lead role on his own TV series since … guesses anyone? anyone? … 2001 ("The Jamie Foxx Show" on The WB). You probably guessed wrong (I did) because he just seems like one of those omnipresent figures — here, there, everywhere. Since 2001, he's done it all and got it all: An Oscar ("Ray"), a splashy remake ("Miami Vice"), a big-screen adaptation ("Dreamgirls"),more movies ("Spider-Man," "Django Unchained," "Soul") and hosting a game show ("Beat Shazam"). Then, there's the music side- career which you may have heard has been reasonably successful too.
He's just a beloved figure with a vast reservoir of charisma and goodwill. TV? Why bother? It's a lot of work; the risk/reward ratio is out of whack; and then, there's the critics. Ugh. Them.
They probably won't much like this either and it's easy to see why. "Dad You're Embarrassing Me!" is neither embarrassing nor particularly bad, but it is arguably worse than that: It's old. A fossilized sitcom that time-travelled all the way from the 1990s, with one calcified gag after the next, punctuated by the occasional (fortuitously rare) discordant off-color joke. (You know — of the crotch variety.)
But stop to think about any of this if so inclined and you quickly realize that that's the whole point. It's a throwback comedy on a service (Netflix) which only recently has discovered the '90s staying power. ("Moesha" and a handful of other classic Black sitcoms have been added within the last six months or so.)
To reinforce that '90s nostalgic vibe, Foxx has been reunited with his trusty castmate from "In Living Color." Grier — who's good here — plays to type and steals his scenes with the effortless ease of a cat burglar who pockets the loot before anyone knows it's gone missing. The show's lead, for example.
Foxx, in fact, is a little rusty through the early episodes, not quite sure if he should reprise some of that old "ILC'' spirit, or update it with something that'd work better in this century, hence the line of not-quite-groaners about skinny jeans, T.D. Jakes, Yeezy and Hot Yoga. He's an up-to-date dad, all right, which is the other whole point: There's nothing more embarrassing than an up-to-date dad. Best stick with the jean shorts, pop, and fade into the background.
Will any of this slow down the Jamie Foxx express? (Do we really have to even ask?) With its trusty old-school TV verities, hug-it-out moments, beats as familiar as any from "Father Knows Best," and a laugh track that's probably turned up a notch too loud — plus bonus points for a solid supporting cast — it'll probably be a hit. So much for risk/reward.
BOTTOM LINE Even a pair of legends can't quite shake the dust out of this — dust, in fact, that's time-travelled all the way from 1990s TV.