"Men at Work" Deserves Neither a Pink Slip Nor a Promotion Review

Men at Work might air on TBS, but it'd feel right at home in CBS's lineup of sitcoms with an overly broad reach and tendency towards stale jokes that make it feel like we've heard everything it has to say even if occasionally it finds one or two somewhat clever ways of saying it. Like many shows in CBS's sitcom lineup, it's not devoid of laughs, but it does feel like a backslide into weak sitcom writing when compared even with already predictable shows like The Big Bang Theory, and it's hopeless when compared to far more original fare like Parks and Recreation. Created by Breckin Meyer, a capable comedic actor in his own right, and starring That 70s Show's Danny Masterson, Men at Work isn't entirely without merit, and it does improve as the first season progresses, but it'll take a lot of work before it's anything worth recommending and not just a time killer between shows worth watching.

The premise is really nothing special: four guys working at a magazine participate in shenanigans both during and after work. There's the committed monogamist (Adam Busch), the ladies man (James Lesure), the pretty boy (Michael Cassidy), and the recently dumped (Milo Foster), and together they try to help the latter forget about his problems and move on to find a new girl. Sometimes that involves decathlons of weird non-sports, crashing wakes, learning how to talk dirty in bed, joining a gym to meet women, and more.

The comedy is never all that sharp, but the show makes it work through its four leads who manage to bounce the jokes off one another smoothly with some good chemistry. At times it feels like all the writers have to give us are sarcastic comebacks, but every now and then a chuckle-worthy  one-liner makes it through the clutter and the show earns another temporary reprieve. You won't be blown away by Men at Work, but at least it's still better than Two and a Half Men and Guys with Kids.

However, if you really want to watch something funny with the name Men at Work, just go rent the 1990 film starring Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez.

DVD Bonus Features

A gag reel and deleted scenes are the only extras.

"Men at Work: The Complete First Season" is on sale March 26, 2013 and is not rated. Comedy. Directed by James Widdoes, Mark Cendrowski. Written by Breckin Meyer, Francisco Angones. Starring Danny Masterson, Adam Busch, Michael Cassidy, James Lesure.

Lex Walker • Editor

He's a TV junkie with a penchant for watching the same movie six times in one sitting. If you really want to understand him you need to have grown up on Sgt. Bilko, Alien, Jurassic Park and Five Easy Pieces playing in an infinite loop. Recommend something to him - he'll watch it.


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