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'Guys With Kids' review: A crying shame

Anthony Anderson, left, as Gary, Jesse Bradford as

Anthony Anderson, left, as Gary, Jesse Bradford as Chris and Zach Cregger as Nick in "Guys With Kids," premiering Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012 at 10 p.m. on NBC. Credit: NBC


WHEN | WHERE Pilot sneak peek tonight at 10 (and Friday at 8) on NBC/4. Next Wednesday night at 9:30, then regular run begins Sept. 26 at 8:30 p.m.

REASON TO WATCH Well, the babies are cute.

WHAT IT'S ABOUT Three guys chest-bump baby slings at a bar.

Setup for a punch line? It's the first scene of "Guys With Kids," in which three city dudes commiserate over the woes of fatherhood. "I haven't slept in six years!" moans Anthony Anderson's stay-at-home father of four, craving veneration for what millions of mothers do year in and year out. "I love you kids, but you're making daddy stupid!"

Not too stupid, however, to conspire with the other guys -- one married (Zach Cregger), one divorced (Jesse Bradford) -- to get the newly single dude a date on a custody night, despite the ex-wife's no-baby-sitters demand. Will guy stand up to girl? Does the ex really have a date with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar?

MY SAY How come everybody talks in Sitcom Voice? (Too loud. Too insistent. Too google-eyed. Even Jericho's sharp Jamie-Lynn Sigler. From "The Sopranos" to this?)

"Guys With Kids" is NBC's attempt to get back in the live-audience sitcom game. But "Frasier," it ain't. You'd think there'd be plenty of character-based humor in situations involving sling-carried babies, rampaging kids, pooped parents, interfering friends, elbow gloves, Wii dancing. Not here. There's joke, then Joke, then JOKE. There are nowhere-in-nature "laugh" lines like "Sons before buns, little man." There's long-tired sitcom shtick and incessant transition shots of the outsides of buildings. (Note to makers: "Frasier" didn't use any.)

BOTTOM LINE Nothing to see here. Move on.


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