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'Undateable' review: Dopey fun from Bill Lawrence

Chris D'Elia as Danny Burton and Bianca Kajlich

Chris D'Elia as Danny Burton and Bianca Kajlich as Leslie Burton in the pilot episode of "Undateable." Photo Credit: NBC / Justin Lubin

THE SHOW "Undateable"

WHEN | WHERE Premieres Thursday at 9 p.m. on NBC/4, a second episode follows at 9:30 p.m.

WHAT IT'S ABOUT Danny Burton (Chris D'Elia) is a 29-year-old man-child who is good at exactly one thing -- having a series of superficial relationships with attractive women. He decides to help his other roommates -- who are also in a state of arrested development, albeit the exact opposite of him -- to overcome their crippling inability to talk to women, much less date them. They are: Justin Kearney (Brent Morin), a bar owner; Shelly (Ron Funches), Burski (Rick Glassman) and Brett (David Fynn). This show was adapted for TV from -- or perhaps more accurately "inspired by" -- Ellen Rakieten and Anne Coyle's book, "Undateable: 311 Things Guys Do That Guarantee They Won't Be Dating or Having Sex," by Bill Lawrence ("Scrubs") and Adam Sztykiel.

MY SAY Sure "Undateable" is dopey. It's happily dopey. Unapologetically dopey. Umm, dope-ily dopey. But that doesn't mean this "bro-com" from Bill Lawrence is terrible-dopey; it's not and in fact is demonstrably better than a few other NBC sitcoms that have filled/wasted the NBC Golden Hour the past couple of seasons. "Undateable" is a trifle with a smattering of good lines, a couple of laughs, a reasonably amusing cast -- first and foremost, D'Elia -- and probably enough gas in the tank to get it through the summer.

At first, "Undateable" feels a little bit like Lawrence's notebook of rejected lines -- jokes he just couldn't bear to part with but had enough sense not to include in shows like "Cougar Town." (In fact, tomorrow's opener is a group effort by a pack of seasoned sitcom writers, but the Lawrence touch is evident throughout.) Also, this is a multicamera show, so the beats tend to gut anything that aspires to brains or subtlety: Punchline . . . spit-take . . . cue to: studio audience laughter. Repeat.

That's OK, too, because, believe me, "Undateable" has no aspiration beyond surviving past the All-Star break. NBC is probably a bit embarrassed by this, but don't take this network's cue on anything relating to the "sitcom" because with the exception of "About a Boy," it hasn't had a whole lot of recent success in the comedy realm.

BOTTOM LINE Amusing, dumb, silly -- exactly what you'd expect.



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