LA to Vegas: Advance Review

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I’m conflicted about LA to Vegas, the new comedy from FOX premiering tonight at 9/8c. 

On the one hand, it’s a fairly standard workplace sitcom with a very talented cast. On the other hand, it’s borderline sleazy and inappropriately sexual.

For example, in the third episode we have star Dylan McDermott facing off with guest star Dermot Mulroney in an absolutely inspired casting choice. McDermott stars as Captain Dave, a pilot for fictional Jackpot Airlines which flies the LA to Vegas route (and back) regularly. McDermott gleefully plays Captain Dave as a flyboy from another era, complete with ’80s pornstache and far more swagger than he’s earned. When Captain Dave (don’t presume to call him anything else) gets benched due to an injury, Mulroney’s Captain Steve takes a break from his glamorous international route to fill in. 

This is the first time McDermott and Mulroney have appeared opposite each other, and they clearly enjoyed themselves. Playing off the similar names that tripped people up when they were both wooing the likes of Julia Roberts (McDermott in Steel Magnolias; Mulroney in My Best Friend’s Wedding), they play mirror images of each other in this episode and it is delightful.

LA TO VEGAS: Dylan McDermott in the “Pilot” premiere episode of LA TO VEGAS airing TUESDAY, Jan. 2 (9:00-9:30 PM ET/PT) on FOX. CR: FOX

On the flipside, the episode’s secondary storyline involves Colin, a single dad played by The Mindy Project‘s Ed Weeks, throwing his toddler son a birthday party at a strip club. This isn’t the first time in the show’s three episodes made available to reviewers that minors were part of a joke about sex, but it’s definitely the grossest. 

So while I want to enjoy LA to Vegas as a fairly predictable but well-acted half hour, just when I get comfortable, the show veers into sleazy, even tone-deaf territory. I think the show is aiming for sex-positive humor – one of the secondary characters is an incredibly cheerful stripper who helps arrange said toddler birthday party – but in the #MeToo era, the jokes fall flat.

Inappropriateness aside, I will probably continue to watch LA to Vegas because the cast is solid and hopefully the writing will catch up. In addition to McDermott chewing the scenery and Weeks playing a somewhat sad sack single father, the series stars Kim Matula as ambitious but messy flight attendant Ronnie; Nathan Lee Graham as gay and cynical flight attendant Bernard; Peter Stormare as a gambler of unknown Eastern European origins; Amir Alai as the perennially overlooked co-captain; and Olivia Macklin as chipper stripper Nichole. This is a good cast who manages to elevate some fairly generic material. With smarter writing, LA to Vegas could be a winner.

LA to Vegas premieres Tuesday, January 2 at 9/8c on FOX.

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