TV review: Ben and Kate

By Columbus Alive
From the September 20, 2012 edition

There’s no shortage of family comedies on the network landscape, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for something worthwhile like Fox’s “Ben and Kate.” There’s nothing original or particularly fantastic about “Ben and Kate,” but it sure is likable.

Kate (Dakota Johnson), who had a daughter (an adorable Maggie Elizabeth Jones) too young, is the responsible sister to her impetuous older brother Ben (Nat Faxon.) Ben usually just blows through town sporadically needing things like “a piñata and six dresses, sizes eight through 12” or a bear trap, but by the end of the pilot he finds a reason to stay. The uber-responsible Kate needs a little wild card in her life.

The cast and its chemistry is the best part of “Ben and Kate.” Faxon fills the entire show with madcap energy, and he and Johnson are a solid odd couple. Brit Lucy Punch (“Dinner with Schmucks,” “Bad Teacher”) is the breakout star as Kate’s best friend BJ and shines in her few scenes. If Punch and Faxon are used appropriately, they’ll provide strong laughs to balance the heartfelt emotional moments nicely.