Warner Bros. // 2005 // 527 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Ryan Keefer (Retired) // May 26th, 2008
Two adults. One kid. No grown-ups.
For me, hard liquor is tough to take. Cocktails with popular appeal are good, but the first sip always tastes the worst. After I get over the initial distaste of alcohol, however, I start to taste the other flavors that some bartender thought would go well together. Before long, I'm an alcoholic. I know drinking is bad for me, but I'm a pawn in the game of addiction.
You're smart. You can already tell that what I just said is a metaphor, right?
Charlie Harper (Charlie Sheen, Men at Work) takes in his brother Alan (Jon Cryer, Hiding Out) who can't afford a place on his own. Alan shares custody of his always-masticating pre-teen/early teenage son Jake (Angus Jones, The Rookie) with his controlling ex-wife who still has a controlling interest in his income through alimony. Charlie is the bachelor, unaccustomed to the burdens of having a youngun present in his life, like thinking before he speaks, refraining from parading naked women around the house, etc. Something I didn't find out until the end of the third season is that Charlie's a jingle writer. Alan is -- and you have to see this coming -- completely the opposite of Charlie. He's a chiropractor, which he insists means he's a doctor, and he can't seem to stand up to women. All together, they make up Two and Three-Fifths men (the kid is growing, you know, as we speak).
The show's stories are mostly self-contained and are resolved within the same episode, but the third season has characters in all sorts of precarious positions:
* Alan dates a 22-year-old who's not the sharpest tool in the shed, but
makes up for it in bed.
* Charlie dates a witch who is using him to bring forth some kind of evil being.
* Charlie dates Mia, a dancer who he might actually love but she thinks she can change him.
* Alan dates a nester who loves to cook. Alan may not be in love with her, but Jake certainly is.
Is there a pattern here? Out of all 24 episodes spread out over four discs, maybe three episodes don't have to do with women the guys are dating. This is bachelor life, after all. There is somewhat of a cliffhanger ending, but it's a sitcom, so you won't lose sleep waiting for the next season.
I was shocked that this show was already releasing its third season. Honestly, I thought maybe the show was on its second season. Woah. Wrongo. The show consistently ranks in TV ratings as one of the top shows each week.
After having seen the show on CBS maybe twice before this DVD review, I thought it was kind of humorous, but it had been a while since I turned to the good ole local tiffany network affiliate. So watching the first episode on the third season was kind of painful. It felt like every line was a punch line. The audience had no time to get themselves back together. Line. Laugh. Line. Laugh. I mean, spouting a humorous line is very different than having a successful and funny sitcom where the situations are funny and the acting contributes to the viewer's enjoyment.
Fortunately, after the first few episodes, everything seemed to improve. By the last half of the season, I was actually looking forward to watching more. The show is clearly Sheen's vehicle -- he's the star with the bad-ass character that sometimes has a heart, though he seems to phone it in a little. I found that Cryer was actually funnier. His acting and lines didn't say, "please laugh," rather, they were just funny. Of course, the shy guy usually has more of the awkward funny moments, which we all know are the most enjoyable. Oh, and check out Sheen's legs -- he's in many scenes sitting on the couch with his legs crossed (like a female), and I don't know if I've ever seen such skinny legs!
Surprisingly, one of the funniest attributes to this season was Alan's young girlfriend, Kandi (April Bowlby). Her character is not so smart, but at least she's consistent. She also talks out of the side of her mouth, which is funny in itself. In one episode, she's brushing her teeth and realizes her tooth hurts. This is the exchange:
Alan: "When was the last time you saw a dentist?"
Kandi: "Alan, I see lots of people. They don't always tell me what they do."
The cast is right for the show, and I would say that it can only get even better from here, but we all know that such an opinion could be easily overturned. For what it is, it's funny.
There is not much in the way of extras. Just a 10-minute gag reel that I found enjoyable. Ten minutes is pretty generous, because you know studios have tons of extra footage, but most choose not to put it in for various reasons. I appreciate a long gag reel.
Picture and audio was actually pretty good and better than what I have experienced in the past for typical TV DVD sets.
I think this is the least amount of extras I've ever seen on a DVD set. I could be wrong. But not even a making-of or behind the scenes featurette? Two and a Half Men is "The most successful comedy on television," according to Kate Aurthur from the New York Times (who contributed a testimonial/quote to the inside DVD case, along with several others). So for this to be named that with nary an extra beyond a gag reel is a little sad. Also, what is the purpose of a testimonial on the inside of the DVD case?
You almost forget that Charlie Sheen is Charlie. He used to be the big film guy, so I think he's evolved into someone else. So if you're not watching this because you don't like him, don't worry. He looks nothing like the Charlie Sheen you're thinking of. He's got much skinnier legs.
If you get a chance, check out the show on CBS. If you look for it, you'll see that there's actual comedy going on here. Then just let the addiction sink in.
Review content copyright © 2008 Ryan Keefer; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Portuguese)
Running Time: 527 Minutes
Release Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Gag Reel
* Official Site
* Wikipedia: Two and a Half Men
* DVD Verdict Review - Season 2