Picks and Pans Review: Living in Captivity

updated 09/07/1998 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/07/1998 AT 01:00 AM EDT

FOX (Fridays, 8 p.m. ET)

The strange thing about this uneven comedy of suburban eccentricity is that the least amusing character is the one obviously designed to get the biggest laughs. We refer to coarse bigot Carmine (Lenny Venito), who antagonizes his new black neighbor Curtis (Dondré T. Whitfield) in the Sept. 11 pilot. The cartoonish Carmine might as well wear a sign quoting the FOX press release that calls him "a cross between Archie Bunker and Al Bundy." But there's comic potential in the marriage of neurotic writer Will (Matthew Letscher) and careerist lawyer Becca (Melinda McGraw). Can Becca sue Carmine for unsubtlety?

Bottom Line: A sitcom in need of fine-tuning

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