Entertainment Weekly

Stay Connected


Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content
Oscars 2017
Everything you need to knowDon't Miss It


American Hero

Posted on

AMERICAN HERO Ari Graynor and Jerry O'Connell
Joan Marcus

American Hero

Current Status:
In Season
run date:
Ari Graynor, Daoud Heidami, Jerry O'Connell, Erin Wilhelmi
Leigh Silverman

We gave it a C+

The premise of Bess Wohl’s American Hero, a flatbread-thin new comedy running through June 15 at Second Stage’s McGinn/Cazale Theatre, is the stuff of sitcoms: Three down-on-their-luck misfits take a job a sandwich shop run by a recent immigrant from some unidentified homeland (”In my country, I was doctor”) who turns out to be a no-show on the grand-opening day. But hilarity ensues only intermittently.

Abandonment issues run deep with this lot, who include a slutty single mom in a custody fight (the delightfully deadpan Ari Graynor), a painfully awkward 18-year-old juggling two jobs (Erin Wilhelmi, also fine), and a platitude-spouting fortysomething ex-banker divorcee who’s possibly the dimmest, least entrepreneurial MBA in history (Jerry O’Connell, saddled with an underwritten cipher of a role).

While there are some genuinely funny moments, the play never spins out into outright hilarity (some of the biggest laughs come from the choice of incidental music ? recent pop hits improbably rendered as Muzak). Wohl also stumbles in her attempts to tap into some deeper statement about the diminished, post-Great Recession state of the American Dream. In the end, American Hero finds itself sandwiched into an unfortunate middle ground: too broad for Big Statements and not broad enough for truly High Comedy. C+

(Tickets: 2st.com/tickets)