Like a character out of a Japanese sci-fi flick, sitcom creature Diana Canova returns in “Home Free,” a dysfunctional sitcom subpar for ABC’s Wednesday night.
The shrill Canova plays foil to Matthew Perry’s cute wise-guy lead. Perry’s Matt Bailey is a cub reporter who still lives with his spacey mom (Marian Mercer).
Canova is his divorced much older sis Vanessa, who moves back into her mother’s house with her two kids, Abby and Lucas (played by real-life sibs Anndi and Scott McAfee) in tow. Matt and Vanessa, overgrown children themselves, waste little time getting back at each other’s throats.
Concept is the brainchild of creator/writers Tim O’Donnell and Richard Gurman (O’Donnell is exec producer). Perry’s charms stretch thin as troublemaker Matt divides his time between home, work and a cute photographer (Brooke Theiss).
Best players and writing are in work environment: Dan Schneider as a lazy, dim-witted reporter and Alan Oppenheimer as the newspaper’s gruff editor. Direction by James Widdoes is deft.
Otherwise, it’s all bladder jokes, smart-mouthed tots and lame attempts at hipness (jokes that begin “It’s the ’90s …”).
A grown-up kid who moves back home is called a “boomerang.” This one hits you on the head.