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'Breaking In' Premiere

About.com Rating 2 Star Rating

By

Breaking In
Photo courtesy of Fox

The Bottom Line

Breaking In is a confused mix of high-tech espionage and workplace comedy, with an inconsistent tone and some solid performers stuck with one-dimensional characters.

Pros

  • Some talented cast members who could eventually rise above the material
  • Unique premise for a sitcom

Cons

  • Caper storylines at odds with wacky tone
  • Mostly one-dimensional characters
  • Premise is unique but limited

Description

  • Premieres April 6, 2011, at 9:30 p.m. EST on Fox
  • Stars Christian Slater, Bret Harrison, Trevor Moore, Odette Yustman, Alphonso McAuley
  • Created by Adam F. Goldberg and Seth Gordon

Guide Review - 'Breaking In' Premiere

Fox is doing something different with Breaking In, and that probably deserves some credit. Basically, this is like one of those USA/TNT lighthearted action dramas with most of the action taken out and the comedy kicked up a few notches. The problem is that the action is typically the best part of those shows, and the comedic moments are just character flavoring to hold the audience over until the next big break-in or car chase. In Breaking In, the comedy comes first, and the break-ins and con jobs seem like afterthoughts. The cast combines Christian Slater, who’s done his share of straight-up thrillers, with people like Trevor Moore, who’s only mildly less annoying here than on the abysmal sketch-comedy series The Whitest Kids U’ Know.

Slater plays the mysterious Oz, the head of an organization that’s hired to break into high-profile locations to test their security measures. So his people basically commit crimes in order to then report back to the victims about how things went down. It’s a quirky premise, but it’s also easy to see how it could get repetitive. In the pilot, at least, the whole heist is clearly secondary to the office interactions, in particular the travails of new employee Cameron (Bret Harrison) assimilating to the team. He gets hazed and is underestimated in his first big job, pretty much exactly what would happen to the same sort of character on any generic office sitcom. Worse, he totally falls in love with his hot female co-worker (Odette Yustman, successfully pulling off hotness) even though she has a jerk boyfriend. Anyone want to guess where this is going?

Harrison is decent as the put-upon new guy in the crazy company (essentially the same role he played on the short-lived The Loop), and Slater chews plenty of scenery as the crazy boss. But many of the jokes rely on lazy stereotypes (the “nerd” character played by Alphonso McAuley is especially egregious), and it’s hard to take the group’s missions seriously when the show barely gives them any screen time. With time to develop a better balance (and maybe booting Moore from the cast), Breaking In could be endearingly quirky, but for now it’s just a misfire.

Disclosure: A review screener was provided by the network. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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