You know what we really don’t need? Another TV show about a wayward late 20s to early 30s-something who moves back home to live with his or her family. From the short-lived Ben & Kate to the cancelled $h*t My Dad Says, plenty of recent series have tried to mine the now-hackneyed “big kid moves back home to grow up” premise but few have managed to do it successfully (though ABC’s How to Live With Your Parents For the Rest of Your Life — which has the benefit of a Modern Family lead-in — has fared okay so far). Now, comes Family Tools, another comedy from ABC that’s in the same vein, and without much promise.
Adapted from a British sitcom, the spring series follows perpetual screw-up Jack (Kyle Bornheimer), who moves in with his meddling aunt (Leah Remini) and dorky nephew (Johnny Pemberton), to take over the family repair business after his curmudgeon dad, Tony, (J.K. Simmons) suffers a heart attack. Cue cliche father-son discord: While Tony is reluctant to hand over control of his company, Jack wants to prove he’s a worthy heir. That means reluctantly dealing with his dad’s sometimes disruptive employees, including obstinate assistant Darren (Edi Gathegi), who has an irrational fear of feet, as well as Darren’s awkwardly flirtatious sister (Danielle Nicolet).
To be fair, Bornheimer’s Jack is a likeable, earnest doofus, while Simmons plays the part of the grumpy dad to a tee. (Also, it’s nice to see Remini back on the small screen.) There’s nothing particularly terrible about the premiere episode, but there’s nothing quite remarkable about it either. The plot, characters and even comedy (like when Jack accidentally shoots himself with a nail gun) lack novelty, which, let’s face it, is a pretty important Tool to have if you’re trying to make a hit. B-
Family Tools premieres on ABC tonight at 8:30 p.m.