“Up All Night” Review-Won’t Keep You Up, But It’ll Keep You Entertained

Written by Spencer Sterritt November 09, 2011

In the new NBC comedy Up All Night, new parents Chris (Will Arnett) and Reagan Brinkley (Christina Applegate) who struggle with keeping up their past social habits while caring for their absolutely adorable daughter Amy. Reagan returns to her job as a producer on the show Ava, an Oprah-esque talk show hosted by Reagan’s best friend Ava (Maya Rudolph). It’s here that the show runs into most of its problems, but those will be saved for later.

Easily the best aspect of the show is the central relationship between Chris and Reagan, and the camaraderie between actors. Will Arnett and Christina Applegate have an easy grace around each other that really sells the idea of them in a committed relationship, and they are wonderful at bouncing lines off of one another. The line “God your beats are so tight after three Jagerbombs,” isn’t one that just anyone could pull off, but somehow Will Arnett makes it work.

Even though he is third credited, Will Arnett (at the moment) is the heart of the show. While Reagan is off at work, Chris is left as a stay at home dad, and his plot usually runs as the A-plot. It is a far more understated performance than Will Arnett usually gives on shows like Arrested Development and 30 Rock, and it works wonderfully, never delving too far into daddy-angst, but never getting too silly.

Will Arnett and Christina Applegate totally sell it

Problems do crop up once the shows leaves the home though, and follows Reagan to work. Having Reagan work at a talk show is perfectly fine, and it acts as a lovely reprieve from the antics back home, but the show struggles to find things for Maya Rudolph to do. When the show was originally conceived, Ava and Reagan were PR executives. Once Bridesmaids became such a big hit however, the writers re-wrote and re-shot the show to give Maya Rudolph a more prominent role, and it shows. What should be C-plots about Ava become B-plots, leaving the A-plot without a lot of room to expand.

To be fair, Christina Applegate and Maya Rudolph have the same rapport that she and Will Arnett have, and the show has taken pains to try and fix what has become known as “the Ava problem.” It seems that the writers knew they would run into problems with Ava’s character and worked as soon as possible to find a way to more organically write her into the plot. For example, in the most recent episode (a flashback episode) Ava is the one who helps Chris decide to be a stay-at-home dad, and their interactions feel completely natural and serve the episode well.

Nothing about this photo fits with the show

Up All Night uses the single-camera format well, and fosters a familiar sense of home life, since most homes aren’t joke factories (at least mine wasn’t). The quips and silly remarks are given time to sink in; unfortunately at this point the show is mostly just quips, gags, and awkwardness. There are very few actual jokes, or anything that keeps you laughing. It makes you giggle more than it makes you laugh.

Thankfully Up All Night received a full season order, and if its rating stay steady a second season pick-up is probable. If the show didn’t have much of a chance of success then I would not recommend it, since the show would not have time to find its footing. It is always fun to watch a show figure out what it wants to be, and the great performances from Will Arnett and Christina Applegate will keep you quite amused for the rest of the season.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

About Spencer Sterritt

Spencer Sterritt

Spencer Sterritt: former Editor-In-Chief for We Eat Films, future President of the Men With Beards Club, and hopefully candidate for ruler of the world.

Browse Archived Articles by

No Comments

There are currently no comments on “Up All Night” Review-Won’t Keep You Up, But It’ll Keep You Entertained. Perhaps you would like to add one of your own?

Leave a Comment