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Tim Allen in 'Last Man Standing': What the Critics Are Saying

Last Man Standing
Randy Holmes/ABC

The actor makes his small-screen comeback Tuesday night in ABC's new sitcom, and the reviews are almost unanimous: the show's not funny, but he is.

Tim Allen returns to TV tonight in ABC's new sitcom, Last Man Standing (8/7c). And reviews of the venerate actor, who is no stranger to the small screen, having starred in Home Improvement for nine years (another ABC property), are already pouring in.

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While the show is getting slammed for its predictability and flat jokes, the actor is winning praise for his committed delivery. 

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"Don't blame Allen," The Hollywood Reporter's chief TV critic Tim Goodman observes of the show's unfunny jokes. "He's a perfect fit for a multicamera sitcom, and despite the predictability of the jokes, he sells them as well as he can. In fact, as bad as Last Man Standing is, it would be a trillion times worse without Allen's veteran presence and ability to sell comedy in that set-up/punch-line kind of way."

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"Trust me: Even if you've never seen Home Improvement, there's nothing in Last Man Standing you've never seen," observes USA Today. "If you watch his performance tonight, you should also give Allen credit on another front, as well. Unlike Jerry Seinfeld, who left his sitcom as terrible an actor as when he went in, Allen improved each year of Home's run — and is clearly on top of his sitcom game. You may not laugh at all his lines, but you can't deny he knows how to deliver them."

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The Los Angeles Times reviewer, Robert Lloyd, takes the same tone, saying, "I'd like to like this show. I feel somehow that I owe it to Allen for the hundred times I've enjoyed "Galaxy Quest" — "Home Improvement" never made that much of an impression on me," but adds, "But one feels that this is a case of people who can make situation comedies with their eyes closed making one with their eyes closed."

"Even TV comfort food has an expiration date," says TV Guide. "So it is with Tim Allen's comeback vehicle on the network that made him a star. Last Man Standing is basically a weary, gender-reversed version of Allen's hit Home Improvement."

The New York Times also pointed out Allen's two show's masculine-focused similarities: "On Home Improvement Mr. Allen played the star of a DIY television show who was clumsy around his own house. In his new role as Mike, a downsized dad, Mr. Allen has a video blog on which he rants against the feminization of the species."