Kevin Dillon's New Comedy 'How to Be a Gentleman': What the Critics Are Saying
"It's painful to watch so many talented comedic actors ... suffer with this material," writes THR's Tim Goodman, while another says the pilot "has some sharp writing, good byplay between the stars and a fair number of laughs."
Less than a month after Entourage wrapped its series run, Kevin Dillon will hit small screens once again in CBS' new comedy How to Be a Gentleman.
The sitcom, which premieres Thursday night, follows Andrew (David Hornsby, who also created the show), a straight-laced etiquette columnist for a men’s magazine.
When the magazine is revamped into a Maxim-style publication, Andrew turns to high school bully-turned-gym owner Bert (Dillon) in an effort to make him over.
So what are the critics saying about the show?
"It’s painful to watch so many talented comedic actors ... suffer with this material," he writes, adding: "Maybe the emphasis in future episodes should be less on how to be a stereotypical alpha male and more about how to be funnier."
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times' Robert Lloyd praised the cast for what he called solid acting.
"I've watched the pilot possibly too many times not to notice how the parts have been glued together and the jokes teed up, but the performances are good," he writes. "Hornsby's might be the least of them, but he's surrounded himself with what strikes me as a sort of alt-TV supergroup," including Dillon and Rhys Darby.
David Wiegand of the San Francisco Chronicle writes that Dillon is "not bad" and co-star Dave Foley "does OK in a supporting role," but he doesn't have praise for the show itself.
"There may be something salvageable here -- this kind of odd couple pairing worked great in, well, The Odd Couple -- but the pilot is virtually humorless," he writes. "There's one small joke that lands, about why Dillon has a black circular tattoo on his upper arm, but otherwise, even the canned laugh track sounds underwhelmed. And throwing this poor, half-drowned little puppy onto Thursday nights against NBC's Parks and Recreation and even ABC's pathetic Charlie's Angels is sad at best and sadistic at worst."
The Chicago Sun-Times critic Lori Rackl echoed those sentiments.
"Too bad David Hornsby didn’t pick up a book on how to write a funny sitcom instead of the 1998 etiquette guide How to Be a Gentleman," she opines. "If he had, we might have been spared CBS’ newest -- and weakest -- comedy."
She goes on to add: "I hope Andrew has penned an etiquette column on how a gentleman handles getting canceled by a network, because he’s going to need it."
Glenn Gavin of the Miami Herald was a bit kinder in his assessment, calling it "pleasantly amusing" despite the fact that it "rip[s] off a bunch of earlier stuff."
"This is hardly a cutting-edge concept in Hollywood, where tough hombres have been teaching wimp intellectuals how to be real men at least since badlands gunslinger John Wayne gave civics-nerd Jimmy Stewart shooting lessons in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance 50 years ago," he writes. "But How to be a Gentleman has some sharp writing, good byplay between the stars and a fair number of laughs. Who cares if it redefines television as we know it?"
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