Barry

(HBO, Sundays at 10:30 p.m.)

Mar 21, 2018 Web Exclusive
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Barry Berkman, or should that be Barry Block, is a fish out of water not once, but twice. Bill Hader's title character in Barry, a show he also co-created and co-directs, is a Midwest army vet stuck in the daily grind of low rent hitmanning. It's not what he wants to do, especially when he appears to be an American version of Leon (from Luc Besson's The Professional), complete with a handler (Stephen Root) who arranges his deals and is intent on keeping him in the game.

Except a trip to LA goes wrong when Barry discovers acting, offering him an entirely new world to flounder about in. That's the premise in this new HBO sitcom, and so far it sticks. Hader is a mix of cynicism and naivety, and might also be the only competent one in the show.

There are useless cops locking themselves out of key evidence, useless Chechen gangsters waking up the kids by shouting too loud in the torture garage, useless actors, and a useless mentor in Henry Winkler, who is channeling an only slightly less useless Barry Zuckerkorn (his Arrested Development character).

There's no reinventing the wheel going on here, but as they say, why reinvent something that already works so well. (www.hbo.com/barry)

Author rating: 7.5/10

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