Judging by the one episode allotted for review, the Disney Channel’s new original series, “Even Stevens,” is OK: It mines the young teen territory that Nickelodeon rules and is amiable enough, but leads Shia LaBeouf and Christy Romano should start plotting the rest of their careers, as these two young thesps bring polish and excellent timing to the material.
Louis (LaBeouf) and Ren (Romano) are siblings in the same high school, although they inhabit much different worlds: Louis is a freshman who’s slightly geeky and awkward; Ren is a classic overachiever — a star student and the first to volunteer for anything. In fact, her parents get her an electronic organizer for her birthday, because it “suits her personality.”
So the setup is the sibling version of type Z loser vs. type A winner, but in this seg, it’s sis who gets the short end, when Louis, in order to get a prized trading card, tricks his sister into a “date” with the grossest kid in school. Worse, in order to win the card, the encounter must end with a kiss. What ensues is Farrelly brothers lite, and everything has a happy ending.
Script from Matt Dearborn and Mark Fink may be mild on the comedy but hits in spots, while helmer Paul Hoen uses some trendy camera tricks to goose visuals.
Little is done with the other major characters, as Louis and Ren take center stage in this seg and shine. LaBeouf is like a pre-teen Garry Shandling, and indeed his character has posters of “Seinfeld’s” Kramer and Jay Leno in his room , underlining Louis’ sensibilities. Romano comes off like a junior Wendie Malick , snooty and human and entertaining to watch.
Tech credits are pro.
Series’ regular timeslots are Fridays and Saturdays at 5:30 p.m., and Sundays at 8 p.m.