Terry Morrow: NBC's 'Guys with Kids' might be cool to hang with — for a while

Nick (Zach Cregger), and Gary (Anthony Anderson) let off some steam in NBC's new sitcom "Guys With Kids," airing tonight.

Photo by NBC, 2012 NBCUniversal Media, LLC

Nick (Zach Cregger), and Gary (Anthony Anderson) let off some steam in NBC's new sitcom "Guys With Kids," airing tonight.

"Guys With Kids" proves the theory that television is a personality-driven medium.

It's generally thought viewers look for likable or at least relatable characters in television. When it comes to films, audiences tend to gravitate to plots or genres more.

When it comes to personality, "Guys" has plenty to spare. It's well cast. Unfortunately, the half-hour sitcom (getting a sneak peek at 10 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 12, WBIR, Channel 10) lacks in just about every other area.

The comedy focuses on three male friends who watch their children during the day as their wives march off to the office. The men, of course, are still stuck in a juvenile mode.

Their wives, naturally, are smarter and more mature than their mates because, if this were reverse, "Guys" would be sexist, right?

Zach Cregger, known best from the comedy group The Whitest Kids U'Know, has a great, accessible charm as Nick, a father of one and married to Emily (former "Soprano" star Jamie-Lynn Sigler). He is a comfortable fit with his years of sketch comedy experience.

Jesse Bradford fills the role of the straight man among the cut-ups as divorced dad Chris, whose ex-wife is a shrew. He's far better at taking a line than delivering one.

Then there's Anthony Anderson ("Law & Order"), a mediocre actor who has the annoying idea he's funnier than he actually is. He's loud, in desperate need to update his swagger and eager to hog the screen. He plays Gary, a father of four, who is married to Marney (Tempestt Bledsoe).

The cast has a very nice and organic chemistry, making "Guys" tolerable. The canned laugh track and predictable writing don't do them justice.

Score: 3 stars (out of five)

Terry Morrow may be reached at 865-342-6445 or morrowt@knoxville.com.

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