Picks and Pans Review: Cracking Up

updated 03/15/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/15/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

FOX (check listings)

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If this sitcom were smarter and subtler, it might be another Arrested Development. Unfortunately, its creative development seems to be arrested.

FOX is giving the new show two shots after American Idol (March 9 and 10 at 9:30 p.m. ET) before it settles into its regular Monday slot (March 15 at 8:30). That means many eyes should be on the early misadventures of psychology grad student Ben (Rushmore's Jason Schwartzman), who is hired by rich Ted and Lesley (Christopher McDonald and Saturday Night Live alum Molly Shannon) to be a live-in therapist for their 9-year-old son Tanner (Bret Loehr). Ben quickly learns that the parents, along with teenagers Chloe and Preston (Caitlin Wachs and Jake Sandvig), are the real nutbars in the family.

The rookie shrink's growing incredulity is funny in the opener, but the second episode sinks to the bottom of the hot tub when Ben's pal Liam (David Walton) offers to provide "sleazy chicks" who will relieve Preston of his virginity.


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