‘Young Rock’ and ‘Kenan’ review: Dwayne Johnson and Kenan Thompson give NBC a so-so comedy tag team
“Young Rock” may have worked much better as a film, rather than what’s basically “Dwayne Johnson: The Wonder Years Edition.” The wrinkle that assists tease the program out is that it discuss 3 different developmental durations — with Johnson played by various young stars at ages 10, 15 and as he starts his college football days at Miami — as informed by a future variation of the wrestler turned star installing a 2032 governmental run.
Johnson is stating his history to an admiring recruiter (“Fresh Off the Boat’s” Randall Park), which keeps the real man in the series. The reminiscence includes his dad Rocky (Joseph Lee Anderson), a wrestler back then; his mother (Stacey Leilua), part of a fumbling household; and their wrestler friends — typically seen hanging out at their home — consisting of huge names (actually) like Andre the Giant (Matthew Willig, not rather that huge, however huge enough) and the Iron Sheik (Brett Azar).
Young Dwayne is presented in Hawaii in 1982, prior to battling had actually developed into the atm that it ended up being. Still, the wrestlers talk fondly about “working the gimmick” — that is, offering the program to an audience — and respond in scary if anybody attempts to utilize the word “fake.”
To call this a vanity task would be an understatement, however Johnson’s fundamental likability goes a long method, and he define that this isn’t going to be all pleased fond memories, mentioning errors that he gained from along the method.
“To understand me, you gotta understand where I came from,” he describes.
Honestly, it still seems like a small construct to top a series (a film would have made more sense), however the 3 different amount of time — or 4, if you count the future — use a reasonable quantity of possible ground to cover.
Any method you slice it, “Young Rock” is its own type of trick. How long the manufacturers and star will have the ability to keep working it and formulating fresh wrinkles is where the program’s future begins to get fuzzy.
By contrast, “Kenan” remains rooted in the here and now, revealing a more susceptible side of its star, however surrounding him with quite stagnant comedy features.
Playing the host of a regional early morning TELEVISION program in Atlanta, Thompson places on the happy-camper personality associated with that function, however in the house he’s having a hard time. His better half passed away, and he’s raising 2 kids with aid from his father-in-law (Don Johnson, enjoyable however a little underemployed) and bro (fellow “SNL” gamer Chris Redd).
Kenan is having a hard time to hold everything together, and the scores for the program have actually been slipping. “We’re worried that you haven’t fully processed your grief yet,” his manufacturer (Kimrie Lewis) informs him, however the not-very-appealing response to that is to attempt to get him to open about his sensations on air.
Produced through “SNL” patriarch Lorne Michaels’ business, “Kenan” conjures a couple of amusing lines — Johnson’s character keeps recommending they see “Green Book” — and provides Thompson a ready-for-primetime opportunity to show he can deal with more than simply one-liners. However the property and supporting gamers — including his crazy TELEVISION household — are so slim the possibilities feel quite well tired by the pilot alone.
As it stands, “Kenan” might be dependent on “Young Rock’s” success, with NBC clearly hoping that viewers will show up for one and stick around for both of them.
In TELEVISION terms, that in old-fashioned scheduling technique itself represents a throwback maybe much better matched to “Young Rock’s” timeline — a trick that most likely would have worked much better back in the 1980s.
“Young Rock” and “Kenan” best Feb. 16 at 8 and 8:30 p.m. ET, respectively, on NBC.
Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.