Picks and Pans Review: Fresh Prince of Bel Air

updated 09/10/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/10/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

NBC (Mondays, 8 P.M. ET)

B+

Will Smith, the verbal half of the rap group D.J. Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, stars in this modernized, black version of The Beverly Hillbillies. Smith is a sassy kid from West Philadelphia who's sent to live with his rich uncle (James Avery) in Bel Air.

The comic tension grows out of seeing this jive jester in an antiques-filled drawing room. Sample dialogue: Uncle: "Will will be going to Bel Air Academy." Snooty lawyer: "Good for you, Will. I used to fence at Bel Air." Will: "Really? How much you think we could get for that stereo?"

Smith is a wonderfully natural performer, and though this is a silly brain-drain of a sitcom, it's a funny froth.

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