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TV REVIEW : 'Larry' a Witty Bit of Monkey Business

The New Season. One in a series.

August 25, 1993|HOWARD ROSENBERG

CBS joins Fox tonight in getting an August jump on the fall season.

Charging from the blocks is "The Trouble With Larry," a promisingly cutting comedy starring Bronson Pinchot as a presumed-dead adventurer who resurfaces a decade after being abducted by baboons while honeymooning in Africa. Its title is a play on "The Trouble With Harry," a Hitchcock black comedy about a troublesome corpse.

The sharply written 8 p.m. premiere (on Channels 2 and 8) is acutely funny in spots, starting with opening sequences that find that facile flake Larry in the clutches of a behemoth female steamer captain en route back to the United States. Because Larry was rumored to have been eaten by apes, his arrival shocks his wife (Shanna Reed), who is now living a sedate life in upstate New York with her stuffy new husband (Perry King) and their daughter (Alex McKenna).

Although the two husbands predictably conflict, it's the cross-fire of snide jabs between Larry and his wife's sister (Courteney Cox) that propels this half hour and gives it an entertainingly dark edge.

The broad ending is the kind of silly piffle that only the likes of Robin Williams could pull off, and the show's plethora of bawdy double entendres regarding the male anatomy is ill suited to a time period so accessible to young kids. All in all, though, it's a good start, the key being that both Pinchot and the writing are effortlessly witty.

How will this eclectic group of characters ever be able to get along? Humorously, if the premiere is a measure.

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