An underrated ensemble comedy,
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This review is from: Rules of Engagement - Season 1 [DVD] (DVD)
This first season DVD contains 7 episodes of this sharp and rather underrated (also unfortunately recently cancelled) American comedy, opening with the pilot episode. Essentially a "relationships" series it follows the lives of two couples and their single male friend. Jeff and Audrey the more senior pair (played by Warburton and Price) have been comfortably married for several years while the slightly younger pair, Adam and Jen (Hudson and Kajilich) are newly engaged. The determinedly single guy of the group, the shallow and promiscuous Russell (Spade) enjoys a sarcasm-dripped mock love-hate relationship with all the other principals. The episodes centre on the ups and downs of coupledom but it often feels like there is more of an emphasis on the downs, particularly in relation to Jeff and Audrey.
In the traditions of the best of American comedy, the writing is polished and the casting of the main characters is first-rate delivering a strong ensemble show. I do believe though that the excellent Patrick Warburton (also of Seinfeld and Family Guy) stands out - both literally and figuratively as the wonderfully forthright and cynical Jeff. I think optimism is the underlying message of the show as each broadly follows the path of starting with the notion of glass half empty but usually ends with a turnaround to glass half full territory.
This DVD is a good introduction to the series and at the currently competitive price of round about a fiver; it's worth using this opportunity to give the show a look. As I mentioned briefly, the show was unfortunately cancelled a couple of months ago after seven seasons, but I can't help thinking that this is more a result of a strong feeling that the show had been ill-served in its placing in the American TV schedules over the years.
An enjoyable 4* showing.