[05/06/10 - 12:08 AM]
The Futon's First Look: "Good Guys, The" (FOX)
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

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(Mondays at 9:00/8:00c starting June 7; Special Preview: Wednesday, May 19 at 8:00/7:00c)

The network's description: "In the special series preview of Matt Nix's new action-comedy, THE GOOD GUYS, old-school cop Dan Stark and modern-day detective Jack Bailey expose the big picture of small crime. Pursuing a routine investigation of a stolen humidifier, Jack and Dan are inadvertently thrust into a much larger case involving drug smugglers, hired assassins and a stolen green golf bag. Reminded of the way he busted punks back in the good old days, Dan convinces Jack to go along for the ride, and in their reckless pursuit of justice, the two wind up risking their lives, breaking a flurry of department regulations and reminding their boss, Lieutenant Ana Ruiz, and Jack's ex-girlfriend, Assistant District Attorney Liz Traynor, why these good guys will be spending many more days investigating seemingly minor crimes in the "Pilot" episode of THE GOOD GUYS airing Wednesday, May 19 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX."

What did they leave out? The series went through a host of working titles, including "Jack & Dan," "Code 58" and "The Five Eight."

The plot in a nutshell: Partners Jack Bailey (Colin Hanks) and Dan Stark (Bradley Whitford), like all cops on the big and small screen, are decidedly mismatched: Jack's a college-educated know-it-all while Dan's a beer-soaked loose-cannon. As you might guess, said attitudes routinely get them in trouble - the former for correcting their bosses' grammar and penmanship, the latter for taking insanely unnecessary risks. And rather than let them near actual policework, Lt. Ana Ruiz (Diana Maria Riva) instead tasks them with "5-8"s or ordinary everyday crimes. It's a gig so sad even their latest victim, Eileen (Nia Vardalos), is surprised to see them investigate. It seems she came home to find her TV broken and her humidifier (or "humidifinder" as Dan amusingly calls it) stolen. Much to their surprise however Eileen recognizes Dan from his infamous 1985 case in which he rescued the governor's son (and "Savage & Stark," the ensuing movie-of-the-week about it).

And while Dan is more than satisfied with simply accepting her thanks, Jack sees the opportunity to crack an actual case for once. And thus he hits up Liz Traynor (Jenny Wade, doing her best Southern belle), his ex-girlfriend in the D.A.'s office to run some prints - which ultimately prove to belong to Julius (RonReaco Lee), a thrift store owner who's literally been fencing his scores in the shop. He in turn has bigger problems, namely a drug lord named Romero (Alex Fernandez) who's interested in getting back a golf bag Julius stole that secretly contains millions in cash. Before long Jack and Dan find themselves waist deep in the aforementioned mess, which also includes Pedro (Andrew Divoff), the world's second best assassin; Escalante (Ramon Frano), Romero's fed-up minion; and Dr. Kalfuss (Tom Amandes), a surly plastic surgeon. Thankfully, Dan may just have the old school smarts/unhinged personality to stop the bad guys. Unfortunately for Jack, it involves sliding on counters with guns blazing and jumping from a speeding car.

What works: The world of "The Good Guys" is so wonderfully colorful and ridiculous it's almost Elmore Leonardian, if that's even a word. Here the bad guys politely answer their iPhones mid-robbery, stay in budget hotels to save their boss a few bucks and dream of getting plastic surgery to look like Erik Estrada. Here the good guys always brandish double guns, don't wait for backup and get in car chases while AC/DC's "Thunderstruck" blares. It's a 1980s buddy action flick told as a self-aware dramedy of 2010. Spearheading these beautifully over-the-top moments are the never-better Hanks and Whitford who both seem to be having the time of their lives.

Whitford's Dan worries about the "computer machines" revolting, doesn't believe in blood cells and DNA ("I'm just saying the jury is out," he notes) and keeps a cooler of beer in his locker. Hanks's Jack then is the exasperated straight man who's just starting to drink the Dan-flavored Kool-Aid. Throw in a colorful cast of miscreants (Divoff in particular is a hoot), some fun stylistic choices (scene transitions are done via the sound of a gun's chamber spinning with the titles as gun shots) and Matt Nix's amusingly time-jumping script and you have the recipe for the summer's first appointment television.

What doesn't: I don't want to get too excited after one episode so let's all take a moment and breathe.

The bottom line: Okay, let's resume the excitement. All of above and Whitford's moustache? Seriously folks, watch this one.

  [may 2010]  


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