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Tv Review : 'Nothing In Common': Little Other Than Name

April 02, 1987|HOWARD ROSENBERG | Times Television Critic

NBC's new sitcom, "Nothing in Common," has little in common with the appealing theatrical movie of the same name on which it's based. Unfortunately.

Although the series (premiering at 9:30 tonight on Channels 4, 36 and 39) was developed by the very same Garry Marshall who also directed the movie, it's geared mostly for cheap laughs and debuts with a gaggle of jokes that could make you gag.

Todd Waring is David Basner, the wild and warped advertising man played by Tom Hanks in the movie. And Bill Macy succeeds Jackie Gleason as David's father, Max Basner. David now has his own agency and a new assistant (Wendy Kilbourne) who turns him on, and Max has . . . well, that remains to be seen.

The movie worked most of the time not only because of clever sight gags and the performances of Hanks and Gleason, but also because of the tensions between son and father, who was not a very nice person.

The series premiere smooths out that wrinkle, however, and in doing so robs the relationship of depth and texture. David is merely wacky tonight and Max a sort of benign, supportive clown who gets himself a job acting in a cereal commercial that his son is making for an important client. Yes, sitcom fans, and then the high jinks begin.

For viewers who haven't seen the movie, it probably won't make much difference that Waring hasn't Hanks' gift of glib or that something is missing. One half-hour episode may not be representative. Based on tonight, though, David and Max aren't much to laugh at.

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