Ashton Kutcher plus “Two and a Half Men” equals big disappointment.
I tuned in to watch this Monday’s second installment — after reading the rave reviews of the “spectacular” season opener — and I gotta say I was not impressed.
As Michael Kelso in “That ’70s Show” Ashton Kutcher was great. His comedic timing was spot-on as he bumbled through six seasons of the Fox sitcom as the not-too-bright resident hunk. After a whole bunch of not-so memorable films in which Kutcher perpetuated the dumb-as-lint character in “Dude, Where’s My Car,” “Guess Who” and in the very ridiculous “Punk’d” where Kutcher, the master prankster, takes aim and shoots down fellow celebrities, he took a run at respectably in “The Butterfly Effect,” “What Happens in Vegas” and “Cheaper by the Dozen” (I think his scene as the self-absorbed actor boyfriend who gets chomped in the crotch is one of his best).
However, his role in “Two and Half Men” as the very wealthy, very well- endowed, bachelor Walden Schmidt, who buys the house that was owned by Charlie Sheen’s character, Charlie Harper, I found the jokes hackneyed and crude.
I also expected better from Berta, played by Conchetta Farrell, whose voice-over fantasies were older than mold, contrived, and unfortunately expected. The half-homosexual skits with Charlie’s brother Alan, played by Jon Cryer, were as planned and formulaic as you can get. In fact, after the third stab, I felt as if I had washed down the whole show with a bottle of Infamil and needed to be burped.
There is a natural beginning, middle, and — thank God — end to all good shows, and by the end of Monday night’s half-hour, this one had unfortunately reached it. Charlie’s untimely death in a crash and burn was the longest jump over the shark that I’ve ever seen.
I’ll grant you that “Tiger Blood Sheen” crossed too many lines to have remained on the show, but without him, the producers should have just let the whole thing die a peaceful death. Putting it on life support with the introduction of a divorced Internet tycoon who suffers from arrested development just put it on a ventilator — and it is now waiting for the internal organs to fail, which, if network is merciful, will happen sooner rather than later.
Not for Nuthin, but Charlie Sheen was really the heart, lungs and soul, (no matter how twisted that is) of the show. Sorry Ashton, but “Two and Half Men” was Charlie Harper’s gig, not Walden Schmidt’s.