Sony // 2010 // 276 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // January 19th, 2011
This is a sitcom. And it's on CBS.
So there's this group of friends and they like hanging out at a café and making smartass, sarcastic comments to each other and Patrick Warburton (The Venture Bros.) is in it. You would be forgiven if you caught a Seinfeld knock-off vibe, but, really, since every other sitcom involves friends exchanging wry dialogue in an eatery why hold it against Rules of Engagement?
What you can hold against the show is that it's a mediocre way to spend twenty minutes. Of CBS's Monday comedy lineup, I'd put it square in the middle, not as good as How I Met Your Mother (my current favorite "traditional" three camera sitcom), but better than the increasingly grating Two and a Half Men, which overstayed its welcome very quickly.
Mediocre it is. Which means that there are a few jokes that land and plenty that don't. Some characters are funny -- David Spade (Tommy Boy) has typically been amusing to me; Warburton is so deadpan he seems disinterested, but no one delivers a sarcastic remark as well as he does -- and some are just there -- Timmy (Adhir Kalyan, Youth in Revolt) the assistant; Audrey (Megyn Price, Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector) the scenery-chewing wife.
The general thrust is this: Warburton and Megyn Price are married couple Jeff and Audrey and they love each other but like to verbally spar, Adam (Oliver Hudson, Strange Wilderness) and Jennifer (Bianca Kajlich, Halloween: Resurrection) are engaged and as far as I can tell the one joke they both share is needling Adam's metrosexuality, Russell (Spade) is your typical rake (though it has to be said, the fact that Russell looks a lot like David Spade makes the disbelief a tad harder to suspend) and he's got an assistant named Timmy, an uptight guy who generates laughs by occasionally acting boisterous.
Thirteen episodes for this season with a trip to Atlantic City, a high school reunion, Audrey and Jeff searching for a surrogate, Russell's infatuation with Timmy's fiancée and, finally, an elopement.
A mixed bag all the way, but enough one-liners to get it down smoothly.
An austere DVD set: 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, 5.1 Dolby Digital surround, no extras.
Not Guilty, but not memorable either.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* English (CC)
Running Time: 276 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Official Site