Picks and Pans Review: In the House
With Will Smith of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air destined for bigger screens, it's time for NBC to find another Monday night rapper-as-sitcom-star. To the rescue comes a preternaturally relaxed LL Cool J (civilian name James Todd Smith).
He plays a football star sidelined by knee injuries. Experiencing cash-flow problems, he becomes the landlord to a bitter divorcée (Debbie Allen) and reluctant nanny to her two children. The result is Who's the Boss? revamped with references to Halle Berry and Mrs. Lionel Richie.
Allen attacks her role aggressively, giving her scenes a clenched and jittery feel. Cool J underplays his, unfortunately running right through some punch lines and struggling with presenting appropriate facial expressions. But his imperturbable style has a genuine smoothness, and the man has charisma. Maybe he's funny too. It's hard to tell from this show, which scores low on the yucks-meter.