Breaking In (FOX – Wednesday, 9:30 p.m.)

BREAKING IN is an offbeat half-hour workplace comedy about a high-tech security firm that takes extreme – and often questionable – measures to sell their protection services. Created by Adam F. Goldberg and Seth Gordon, the series centers on a team of uniquely skilled oddball geniuses hand-picked to work for a manipulative mastermind.

Contra Security, corporate America’s answer to “The A-Team,” gives clients a sense of security by first ripping it away. The firm is led by OZ (Christian Slater), a larger-than-life head honcho who is a man of mystery and master of manipulation. The members of the odd squad include alluring bad girl MELANIE (Odette Annable), who is in charge of lock-picking, safe-cracking and heart-breaking; and CASH (Alphonso McAuley), a fanboy who specializes in strategy, logistics and office pranks.

Oz’s newest recruit, plucked right out of college, is lovable and charming computer hacker CAMERON PRICE (Bret Harrison). Unfortunately for Cameron, cracking into state-of-the-art security systems is a lot easier than dealing with his co-workers. Between Melanie’s sex appeal and Cash’s hazing, Cameron has more than a few obstacles to overcome if he wants to cement his status as part of the team and become Oz’s go-to guy.

BREAKING IN is produced by Happy Madison Productions, Adam F. Goldberg Productions and Sethsquatch, Inc. in association with Sony Pictures Television. Goldberg, Gordon and Doug Robinson (“Rules of Engagement”) serve as executive producers, while Goldberg serves as writer. The pilot was directed by Gordon. – FOX

8 out of 10

OK… let’s start out by addressing the elephant in the room:  Christian Slater needs work and he needs it badly.  What we mean by this is that he needs a steady job because this is a bunch of absolute crap that since 2008 the shows he’s the lead on keep getting cancelled. Yes, NBC’s My Own Worst Enemy was horrible and we had to stop watching because the characters were so damned unlikable (and we don’t care that the overall Metacritic score was a 61, it was still horrible) but he didn’t make it horrible and The Forgotten was actually a pretty damned good show that unfortunately nobody watched.  That being said, we like Slater and we always have going back to Heathers (full film on YouTube, here… how cool is that?), Pump Up the Volume, True Romance (perhaps his best work), Hell… we even liked the skateboard flick, Gleaming the Cube (again… another complete film on YouTube!). He’s a good actor and he’s very charming and charismatic and is perfect for lead roles in television.

This all having been said, we sincerely hope that FOX didn’t jump the gun by premiering Breaking In in April instead of in their Fall 2011 lineup because we (surprisingly) really like it a lot and the professional critics at Metacritic can once again, be damned, for the 54 overall rating this time.  Now, we do have to admit that the relatively low “Mixed Overall” score was only based on 18 reviews and it’s usually about double that on Metacritic, so that number is kind of skewed and obviously (at least in our opinion) unreliable, but at least we can say that the Metacritic users got it right, averaging an 8 out of 10, which is exactly where we have it.

And why do we like it so much?  Simple: it made us laugh throughout the entire episode and it’s unique.  That’s all we ask for from our 22 minutes of situation comedy and that is what we rarely ever get.  Here’s our opinion of sitcoms in general as posted in our Fall 2010 Preview of Monday’s Programming focusing on the crapfest that is Mike & Molly.

As a rule, I’m skeptical of sitcoms to begin with because for the most part they are unoriginal and they all recycle the same stupid jokes decade after decade…  Seriously who does this simple-minded crap appeal to?

Bur we can’t help ourselves with Breaking In… we kind of like everything about this show.  The characters are unique and well-developed and the actors playing them do not fall into the stereotypical typecast of what you would expect.  Honestly, every character in the ensemble could have been cast for one of the other parts and it would have made complete sense on paper so it’s very refreshing that the producers chose to mix it up and not go the easy route casting the actors in the roles you would expect them to play.

Yeah, we can pretty much guarantee that this isnt the only time Slater has worn a Starfleet uniform.

The only character that couldn’t be recast would be Slater’s Oz because it’s honestly like this role was written for him.  He’s hyper and eccentric and Slater plays that very well. Not to mention what a huge Star Trek fan that Slater is (he even lobbied his own mother, Mary Jo Slater, who was the casting director for Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country to get him a cameo role in that film) and there were numerous Star Trek references in the pilot. Slater even actually had them put his own personal Enterprise Captain’s chair into Oz’s office and they worked it into the dialogue.

As far as the premise of the series is concerned, this is very unique as well and of course, a goldmine for potential slapstick comedy.  The one ting that isn’t unique is the style.  It’s similar in style to Rasing Hope, Community, The Middle, and Scrubs.  Now, even though we only like two of those shows (Rasing Hope and Community), we certainly appreciate that style of quick cut-scenes and rapid fire jokes.  We took two points off for the actual plot of the pilot episode itself being a little clichéd but overall this is a very good show.

As far as FOX’s decision to air in it April, we are going to give them the benefit of the doubt on this one considering how pleased we’ve been with them lately and the fact that even though it premiered in April, it is the lead-out for American Idol, which is exactly what we have suggested that FOX should do to help new shows build audiences.

Watch full episodes of Breaking In, here.

The A-Team (Film, 2010)

A team

The A-Team follows the exciting and daring exploits of a colorful team of former Special Forces soldiers who were set up for a crime they did not commit. Going “rogue,” they utilize their unique talents to try and clear their names and find the true culprit. (20th Century Fox)

7 out of 10

I need to start off this review by pointing out the film’s biggest flaw.  No, it’s not the fact that it’s another example Hollywood being lazy and rebooting another classic franchise, it’s not the fact that Mr. T is nowhere to be seen, it’s not even the fact that whole movie is just another in a long line of predictable action flicks.  No, the biggest flaw in this movie is one person:  Jessica Biel.

The young lady can’t act, plain and simple and she’s poorly cast in every single film she’s in.  Seriously, is the audience truly supposed to believe that she’s not only an officer in the U.S. Army but a Special Forces-type who they actually put in charge of things?  Now this wouldn’t even be an issue if she were routinely in exceptional films that could withstand her brand of crap or even if she were in truly awful films where should could just blend right into the scenery but she never is.  She’s always in these borderline-good films and she’s always a freakin’ anchor that pushes a decent film into the realm of crap-tastic.  Honestly, the only kind of films that she should be doing are the ones that involve hand-held cameras, minimal dialog and the obligatory pool boy.  The problem she has, though, is that there a thousand other chicks in that particular film industry who look exactly like she does.

That being said,  fortunately you experience 20 minutes of phenomenal frenetic action before we even see her dopey self so the damage she normally causes is mitigated.  Other than Biel, the only two major flaws in this film are Liam Neeson’s inability to pull-off an American accent and of course, the ridiculous “flying tank” scene which is oddly reminiscent of the beyond-retarded F-35 jet scene in Live Free or Die Hard and in both cases I recommend fast-forwarding through them or leaving the room and pretending they never happened.

But, honestly, The A-Team is exactly what you’d expect it to be and surprisingly it doesn’t suck because of that.  It’s obviously a reboot and it’s been modernized for 2010, but the casting was excellent (despite Neeson’s accent issues)  and the characters were written very true to their TV counterparts from the 1980’s, and in fact (and people are going to hate me for saying this) maybe even a little deeper and a little better.

The action sequences in this film are fantastic (albeit a little on the unbelievable side at times) the villains are entertaining and there’s enough classic A-Team nostalgia thrown in to make even those most skeptical fan appreciate this new take (yes, they do go all MacGyver more than once, just like they did regularly on the show).  I think the main reason all of this works is because Stephen J. Cannell is the top-billed producer and it’s obvious he was there to make sure that his baby was taken care of.

The dialog is clever and decently written and the film moves at a very good pace and I could think of a lot less fun ways to spend 117 minutes.  Is it going to win any Oscars?  No, but it is certainly one of the best action films I have seen this year.  I hate to say this, but the way this film was done, with the deference and reverence shown to the source material is very reminiscent of last year’s mega-hit Star Trek and yes,  I would know.  And rest assured, like Star Trek, it was made very clear at the end of this film that this won’t be the last time we’ll be seeing these beloved characters on the big screen.