Marla Sokoloff and Josh Cooke make a very cute couple as Alice and Danny. Two lovebirds on their wedding day, they’re about to face roadblocks and mishaps, uncooperative family and friends and tests of their love for each other. “Big Day” starts at 8 a.m. and takes place in real time — “24” as a romantic comedy. But with too many one-note jokes and characters, insufficient barrel laughs and too much controlled chaos, “Big Day” will be lucky if it even makes it to the afternoon let alone a walk down the aisle.
For creators Josh Goldsmith and Cathy Yuspa, a married couple, it’s their second marriage-themed show to land in primetime this season. “Big Day” is no improvement on the generally weak “‘Til Death,” ostensibly an extension of their fine work on “King of Queens.” “Big Day” benefits from a parade of characters beyond Alice and Danny, yet Goldsmith and Yuspa don’t generate any individuals to reach beyond cliche.
We get the best man/maid of honor hookup that becomes a running joke after Becca (Miriam Shor), the bride’s sister, accidentally swallows the contact lenses of Skobo (Stephen Rannazzisi), Danny’s remarkably shallow best friend. Mom Jane (Wendie Malick) is controlling and stubborn, a fact born out by an overlong and unfunny fight over salad. Dad Steve (Kurt Fuller) isn’t too fond of Danny — he finds him immature — as a doctor would when told his future son-in-law is a camp counselor.
The entourage includes the wedding planner Lorna (Stephnie Weir), Danny’s eccentric father and the secretly gay friend, none of whom gives the show needed wackiness.
There’s an unseen enemy, too: the Rupert-Chenowith wedding that has most of this unnamed Northeast town’s service providers tied up so that every molehill can become a mountain for Alice, Jane and Lorna. But after watching the three episodes supplied — with weather, sex, a massage, food and handful of accidents fouling up wedding plans — one has to wonder how many screw-ups can possibly occur before the couple takes off for their honeymoon.
Sokoloff and Cooke have a chemistry that’s this sitcom’s lone saving grace. Megan Branman has surrounded the betrothed duo with a generally able cast, and David Schwartz has created a lively score. Using an idea from “24,” each episode ends with a neat sweep through the family house to let viewers know exactly where each character will be when the show picks up in a week.
While the writers fess up to stealing Chevy Chase’s “doctor, doctor” bit from “Spies Like Us,” they don’t admit to nicking the idea of a person having a theme song from “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka.” There’s also a tip of the hat to “Say Anything.” (Of course, it’s the boom box raised over the head moment; this time without the poignancy).