FOX premieres new brother and sister comedy ‘Ben and Kate’

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Odd couple siblings Kate (Dakota Johnson, left) and Ben (Nat Faxon) push each other out of their comfort zones and into real life in the new comedy, "Ben and Kate," premiering Tuesday, September 25 (8:30-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.

“Ben and Kate” is a new comedy about a young mother named Kate, portrayed by actress Dakota Johnson, who has spent the last few years raising her precocious 5-year old daughter Maddie.

Having been out of touch with the dating scene during that time, the premiere episode starts with her coming back home with George, her first successful relationship. She sees stars and predicts a long overdue make-out session.

Unfortunately, that happens to be the same night when her unpredictable and innocently obnoxious older brother Ben, played by actor Nat Faxon, turns up in her house. The kicker: he’s in a hockey mask. Ben quickly decides that he doesn’t like Kate’s date and is skeptical of him for the the entire episode.

Ben has problems of his own. His ex-girlfriend has something to tell him, and instead of calling her like a normal person, he takes Maddie along on a stake-out in front of the the unsuspecting ex’s house.

Admiring his ex in her all-white ensemble, he realizes he is losing her to matrimony, and subsequently panics. While Ben conjures ill-advised plans to crash her upcoming wedding, Kate is trying to figure out how she can appeal to George.

That’s where BJ steps in, a hilarious friend portrayed by actress Lucy Punch, who demonstrates for Kate such tactics as bringing attention to your mouth in an attempt to increase sexual appeal. The show is also supported by Ben and Kate’s friend, Tomm as acted by actor Echo Kellum, who has an unrelenting crush on Kate.

The show’s feel-good factor is that the siblings and best friends always are there for one
another, and they help each other through their blunders.

Though “Ben and Kate” is engaging, sometimes the laughs feel a little forced. The formula for the show would work brilliantly if Ben’s character weren’t so over the top. His extremely reckless antics are dripping with implausibility try-hard clumsiness. They’re almost begging for laughs from viewers.

The basis for the show is enough. Kate is self-conscious, cute and clumsy enough to make her relatable and amusing to watch; you really do want to see more. The idea of the sweet silly brother is sufficient enough for laughs without having to resort to slapstick.

According to Hulu’s comment board, viewers would like to see more with some toning down of Ben’s character. That’s when Fox will have the hit-comedy they are striving for.