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‘Mad Love’ won’t heat up your Valentine’s Day

‘MAD LOVE’ ★★

7:30 to 8 p.m. Mondays on WBBM-Channel 2

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM



I believe in love. I do. But it’s couples like this who give love a bad name.

On Monday’s debut of “Mad Love,” attractive New Yorkers Ben and Kate meet on top of the Empire State Building — I’ll pause while you gag — and fall in love, despite silly misunderstandings and annoying voice-overs.

They’re played by familiar faces Jason Biggs (“American Pie”) and Sarah Chalke (“Scrubs”), who seem to have no distinguishing personality traits whatsoever. Good hair, though.

The sitcom was originally to star Minka Kelly as Kate, so maybe the characters are generic for purposes of quick recasting.

Ben likes Kate because she’s drop-dead gorgeous, and Kate likes Ben because he smells like cinnamon, and now that that’s established, let’s use the commercial break for a quick catnap.

The more intriguing characters are Ben’s and Kate’s best friends. They hate each other at first sight. Connie is played by Judy Greer, a comedic treasure who is inexplicably sour-faced here and afflicted with bad bangs. Her nemesis Larry is played by Tyler Labine (“Reaper”), who is sarcastic and scruffy.

Will they be able to stand each other for the sake of their friends? Or are those romantic sparks flying?

It’s similar to the plot of “About Last Night” but minus the magic of that movie — specifically, a pre-surgical, topless Demi Moore.

Larry/Labine has an entertaining shtick, firing off insults with a quick tongue. Unfortunately, he comes across as a poor man’s Jack Black. And nobody really wants to go lower-rent than Jack Black.

Greer has built a career as the funny best friend in movies like “The Wedding Planner” and “13 Going on 30.” I urge you to Netflix Greer’s “Jawbreaker” (1999), a teen movie with mean girls Rebecca Gayheart, Rose McGowan and Julie Benz. I had to hold on to that memory while watching her grimace her way through “Mad Love.”

Luckily, Greer’s character is a nanny, so we can always look to her charges for a smile. Drooling babies make funny faces.

The other bright spot is Ben’s ex-girlfriend Erin, played by Alexandra Breckenridge. She’s given to mangled expressions like “taken for granite” and “an escape goat,” and I hope to God that Ben’s new relationship doesn’t mean we’ve seen the last of her. Come back, Erin. Please.

Love may mean never having to say you’re sorry, but “Mad Love” should apologize profusely.

In short: There are better ways to spend Valentine’s Day.



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