Up All Night, “Pilot” (1.01)

Chris (Will Arnett) and Regan (Christina Applegate) sit in their bathroom, reeling from the results of the pregnancy test.

A review of the opener of the Christina Applegate and Will Arnett starrer, written by Emily Spivey and directed by James Griffiths, after the jump…

I will be up front about one thing: I love Christina Applegate and, when he’s got a good character, I very much enjoy Will Arnett. In fact, I’ve liked Maya Rudolph plenty before as well. So if you’re less interested in these three, your mileage may vary. Because while it was a really enjoyable pilot, and the core trio (who are, so far, the only castmates of note) are a lot of fun, I can’t quite tell how much of my love for the show is derived from my appreciation for its stars.

It’s not that the pilot was unfunny, though I only laughed out loud a handful of times. It’s that, like most sitcom pilots, it can only do so much. Up All Night is thankfully unambitious on this score, mostly spending time reflecting on the working mom and stay-at-home dad dynamic, but there’s ultimately only so much you can do in 21 minutes. And, like New Girl, Up All Night does what it needs to: it establishes some fun, lovable characters.

As so many reviewers have done before, I want to note how great it is to see these two playing more grounded, real yet funny, characters. The tone of this pilot is very down to earth, with Maya Rudolph playing the most outlandish figure (and even she’s kept to a  much more realistic tone to, say, her counterpart in Mr. Sunshine), and the two leads do well with that. Will Arnett finally stops playing variations of Gob Bluth, and is all the better for it. And while Sam Newly was a great character for Applegate, Reagan actually feels like a real person you’d know.

At the moment, it almost plays like a series of vignettes instead of a full episode. I’m curious to see what the show looks like moving forward. I’ll be back for episode two, definitely


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