BREAKING IN 1.01 ‘Pilot’

Christian Slater and the son of the devil team up for a new Fox comedy. Well, make that an 'alleged' comedy...

Blair Marnellby Blair Marnell

Episode Title: "Pilot"

Writer: Adam F. Goldberg
 
Director: Seth Gordon

After two previous failures on television, I'd love to report that Christian Slater finally has finally found the show that's going to make him a TV star. But unfortunately, this is the third strikeout.
 
"Breaking In" is amazing. And by amazing, I mean amazingly bad. The jokes fall flatter than you'd think possible and the entire premise quickly becomes tiresome despite a relatively talented cast.
 
Former "Reaper" star Bret Harrison is supposedly the main character, Cameron Bright, a highly skilled hacker settling into his seventh year at college before a man named Oz (Slater) catches him breaking into the school's computer system and blackmails him into joining his company, Contra Security. Once on board, Cameron is assigned to steal a Lamborghini with his new team: supergeek Cash (Alphonso McAuley), office jerk Josh (Trevor Moore) and the prerequisite cute safe cracking girl, Melanie (Odette Annable).
 
It's hard to pinpoint exactly where this show goes wrong, but there's not a single moment that brings any real laughter. And none of the characters are appealing in even the slightest tangible way. Have you ever wondered what Troy from "Community" would be like without the heart and talent of Donald Glover? That's basically Cash in a nutshell. It was the one role on this show that I expected to be impossible to ruin, and yet McAuley's flat delivery mixed with the poorly written gags destroyed what could have been a breakout character.
 
Harrison's Cameron is also a problematic character in that he never comes off as being as intelligent as he's supposed to be. He also seems to be stuck playing college aged characters despite being nearly into his '30s. The audience is meant to root for him in this nest of kooky characters, but he's basically a big whiner being pushed around from one scene to the next. There's no reason to get behind him for a series lead and he's remarkably uncompelling.
 
As for Slater, he has very little to do here besides briefly manipulate Cameron into doing his bidding. I've joked before that Slater could give a great performance in his sleep, but I'm actually not sure he's awake in any of his scenes. And he just proved me wrong, too. I'm mystified that Slater even took the role, but it's more upsetting to see him give the very definition of a phoned in performance. 
 
While Odette Annable is better known for being attractive than for her acting skills, she acquits herself better here than Olivia Munn did in "Perfect Couples" and she even looks like she's occasionally having fun. If that's damning with faint praise… then faint praise is all I have for this show.
 
Michael Rosenbaum has a small cameo as Melanie's boyfriend, Dutch; which was reportedly beefed up in subsequent episodes. I've enjoyed Rosenbaum's work in the past, but it's hard to see why he was bumped up since he's playing just another one dimensional character on a show filled with them.
 
Even more disturbing is the fact that someone at Fox thought that this series was funny and that it deserved a greenlight. "Breaking In" is the worst comedy pilot I've seen this year that wasn't called "Perfect Couples."
 
And poor Bret Harrison was probably better off as the boy scientist on (the probably canceled show) "V."
 
Crave Online Rating: 1 out 10.