Men Behaving Badly

Filmed in Los Angeles by the Carsey-Werner Co. Creator, executive producer and writer, Matthew Carlson; executive producers, Harvey Hyman, Marcy Carsey, Tom Werner, Caryn Mandabach; producer, Patrick Kienlen; based on the Hartswood Films and Thames Television series "Men Behaving Badly," created by Simon Nye; director, James Burrows; executive consultants, Simon Nye, Beryl Vertue; creative consultant, Rob Schneider; associate producer, Timothy Ryder; production designer, Garvin Eddy; director of photography ( Unchecked cretinism rules in "Men Behaving Badly," which might be subtitled "Revenge of the Ab Fabs." "Cybill" may be a mild Americanization of "Absolutely Fabulous," but "Men" is not nearly as timid about replicating its eponymous Thames TV counterpart in giving free rein to the coarsest instincts of the grosser sex.

With:
Cast: Rob Schneider, Ron Eldard, Justine Bateman, Anna Gunn, Nada Despotovich , James Greene, Ray Laska, Christopher Michael Moore.

Filmed in Los Angeles by the Carsey-Werner Co. Creator, executive producer and writer, Matthew Carlson; executive producers, Harvey Hyman, Marcy Carsey, Tom Werner, Caryn Mandabach; producer, Patrick Kienlen; based on the Hartswood Films and Thames Television series “Men Behaving Badly,” created by Simon Nye; director, James Burrows; executive consultants, Simon Nye, Beryl Vertue; creative consultant, Rob Schneider; associate producer, Timothy Ryder; production designer, Garvin Eddy; director of photography ( Unchecked cretinism rules in “Men Behaving Badly,” which might be subtitled “Revenge of the Ab Fabs.” “Cybill” may be a mild Americanization of “Absolutely Fabulous,” but “Men” is not nearly as timid about replicating its eponymous Thames TV counterpart in giving free rein to the coarsest instincts of the grosser sex.

Rob Schneider and Ron Eldard play roommates who seem somewhere between protozoa and sludge on the evolutionary scale. The opening finds them guzzling beer, eating cereal, sucking Fudgsicles and debating the ethics of continuing lovemaking if your girlfriend has fallen asleep. Eldard’s character, Kevin, has a long-term relationship with Sarah (Justine Bateman), for reasons that are impossible to discern unless it is that by comparison with Schneider’s Jamie, Kevin is Alan Bates in “An Unmarried Woman.”

How gross is Jamie? How about dirty underwear doing double duty as a coffee filter? When the inevitable beauty inevitably moves in to the apartment next door, Jamie is quick to go through her things (and find the inevitable stash of nude photos). I could go on.

And yet “Men Behaving Badly” doesn’t quite have the courage of its convictions. There’s a stab at sociological respectability in the voiceover narration that puts everything in context with observations along the lines of “Men are dogs. They just are.” And it also can’t help but let us in, at the end, on an ugly little secret, which is that Kevin and Jamie are pathetic. Well, that’s no fair. Who needs Loser Theater?

The lesson of “Cybill” is, it’s gotta be fun. If “Men Behaving Badly” has any chance of surviving, it has to let Kevin and Jamie revel in their nastiness. No wallowing permitted.

Men Behaving Badly

Production: NBC, WED. SEPT. 18, 9:30 P.M.

Crew: Camera and lenses, Panavision), Ronald W. Browne; casting, Liberman/Hirschfeld; editor, Peter Chakos; music, Ben Vaughn; music supervisor, Joyn McCullough; costumes, Emily Draper; sound, Dana McClure; executive in charge of production, Courtney B. Conte. 30 MIN.

With: Cast: Rob Schneider, Ron Eldard, Justine Bateman, Anna Gunn, Nada Despotovich , James Greene, Ray Laska, Christopher Michael Moore.

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