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STUDIO: Lions Gate
RATED: Not Rated
RUNNING TIME: 464 minutes
SPECIAL FEATURES: Less Than One
“You know what’s never been tried? A workplace comedy. Perhaps in a business setting. If it doesn’t take root, we can add a neighbor in the eleventh hour - perhaps a zany one? Not biting? Well, um… how about for the hook we make the lead a chunky girl?”
Sara Rue, Zachary Levi, Andy Dick, Andrea Parker, Sherri Shepherd, Eric Roberts
Claude Casey (Sara Rue) is a temp working on one of the lower, and thereby lesser, floors of a television station with her friends Ramona (Sherri Shepherd) and Owen (Andy Dick). After a chance to temp for station newsman and MVP Will Butler (Roberts), she gains his confidence and becomes his full time assistant.
Spike Lee’s remake of Devil was slightly more predictable than the original.
She is tormented not only by her low self-esteem, but also Lydia and Kipp (Andrea Parker and Chuck’s Zachary Levi), corporate ladder-scramblers who are annoyed at the ease of Claude’s ascent.
Before the dudes (a.k.a. 98 percent of you) stop reading on the assumption that this is a chick show, let me tell you this: It’s actually funny!
Despite its low profile and my snarky comment regarding the pitch, this series works much more often than it doesn’t. The early-aughties were a dark time for situation comedy, but Less Than Perfect proves that you can still create a diverting half hour of chuckles without insulting viewers’ intelligence (see Two and a Half Men) or resorting to junior high level sexual humor (see Two and a Half Men).
Not that there’s anything wrong with juvenile sexual humor once in a while.
Sara Rue is instantly likable and frequently adorable (her only crimes here are rare visits to Sassywhitegirlville). She manages to bring Claude’s lack of self-assertion to life in subtle and different ways. There’s an early impression that show is going to center around her infatuation with her new boss, but I found that thread thankfully absent in most of the storylines.
The rest of the cast plays stock characters, but very well. Andrea Parker is great as the corporate ice queen, exuding all of Kim Cattrall’s catty sexiness with half the effort. Young Zachary Levi is all confidence and forced smiles as a smarm-mongering lackey. Andy Dick is about as Andydickish as one can be while still being funny and unincarcerated for sexual battery… and he’s funny. You heard it here, kids: cocaine makes you funny! The weak link, in my view (ha!), is Sherri Shepherd. While not bad, she is average among more entertaining actors.
“You know who’s not less than perfect? The Best of the Best. Zing!“
An aspect that hurt the show in my opinion is the clever title, which is not, and selling point that this was going to be a show about a sassy fat chick, which it is not. I’m not typically soap-boxish about such issues, but it’s insulting that the size of a woman in much better shape than Kevin James, John Goodman or Jackie Gleason should be the premise for a show. As it is, Sara Rue’s figure is rarely referenced. Less Than Perfect is more of a workplace ensemble show like The Mary Tyler Moore Show (point of reference for older folks), Murphy Brown (point of reference for my-aged folks) or The Backyardigans (what the fuck are you doing reading CHUD, little kid!?).
You get to see a clean widescreen picture (can’t believe ABC didn’t try to make a fat joke about that on the case) and hear Eric Roberts’ trademark oaken voice in Dolby Digital 2.0. I’m not a stickler about such things, but the menu screens were all the same, and since the show has no theme song (merely a riff) you will be sick of hearing it sooner than later.
Wormser had been a chubby-chaser ever since his Lambda Lambda Lambda days.
Oddly, the final cliffhanger episode appears second-to-last in sequence. I’m not certain why this is but my paranoia tells me that CHUD is just making sure I’m actually watching the whole set and not just selling it on eBay, writing this review from Wikipedia, and then using those freed-up 11 hours to play God of War 3.
At worst case scenario, this set of 22 episodes will run you about a dollar an episode – typically less. In fattie-speak (their theme, not mine), that’s about three KFC meals… with drinks. Between the two, you will live longer and better spending your money on these.
7.0 out of 10