TV Review: Christian Slater Leads the Way For ‘Breaking In’

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CHICAGO – One of the vital criterion for any new TV comedy is a strong personality, acting as a catalyst for the stories and other characters. “Breaking In,” premiering on Fox, has Christian Slater in full “Christian Slater” mode. Television Rating: 4.5/5.0
Television Rating: 4.5/5.0

What the series also has is a juicy premise, sharp writing and a young cast that knows something about comic timing. In the middle of it all is Slater, cut loose from nebulous supporting roles and creating a character that combines his familiar persona from his “Pump Up the Volume” days with modern problems like managing immature high tech employees and fending off bad relationships.

The pilot episode focuses on Cam (Bret Harrison), a seventh year college student who survives on campus by expertly hacking into the computer system and extending his sweet tenure. His salad days are about to end, as Oz (Slater) comes onto Cam’s ruse, and uses the information to blackmail the perpetuate student into joining the security company that Oz has founded. The company specializes in testing the security systems of other companies and people, by using their young team of experts to “break in” and expose flaws in the protection.

 The Payoff Team: Cam (Bret Harrison), Melanie (Odette Annable), Josh (Trevor Moore), and Cash (Alphonso McAuley) in ‘Breaking In’
Cam (Bret Harrison), Melanie (Odette Annable), Josh (Trevor Moore), and Cash (Alphonso McAuley) in ‘Breaking In’
Photo Credit: Fox

This allows for the show to have a clean introduction of the supporting characters, as a team of “professionals.” Melanie (Odette Annable) is an expert lock picker and a potential romantic foil for Cam, if she’ll ever dump her strange boyfriend Dutch (Michael Rosenbaum). Cash (Alphonso McAuley) is the systems geek with a penchant for practical jokes and love of Star Wars. Josh (Trevor Moore) is the ambitious underling who is a puffed up master of disguise.

Bret Harrison, a TV veteran (”Reaper,” “The Loop”), plays the new guy with flippant suspicion and googly-eyed puppy love (for the comely Melanie). The pilot played up his rookie miscues, with Slater’s Oz hilariously challenging the newbie on his first mission. Harrison also plays off well with his supporting team, especially his odd rival Josh, who is expertly portrayed by Trevor Moore, a member of the comedy group “The Whitest Kids U’Know.”

The show uses the quick-cut flashback for story support, aping the lightning camera pan in “30 Rock.” Although this seems like a steal, the show has its own original setting, with a rich vein of potential story lines percolating through the current rage and paranoia of modern security systems. It also has characters that have established themselves early, so their comic elements are loose and organic.

All Secure: Bret Harrison and Christian Slater (Oz) ‘Breaking In’
All Secure: Bret Harrison and Christian Slater (Oz) ‘Breaking In’
Photo Credit: Fox

But it is the return of classic Christian Slater, with all the cutting remarks, above-it-all adventurism and the sly sense of leading man humor. There was even a nice reference to his Star Trek geekdom (he made a cameo in one of the movies) with a bit about Captain Kirk’s chair. The series creator, Adam F. Goldberg, is smartly turning Slater loose, and Breaking In is stronger for it.

There is true possibility for a funny, long-running appointment television show, as long as it can maintain the sharpness of the pilot episode. Before we know it, “Breaking In’ could be breaking out.

”Breaking In” premieres Wednesday, April 6th at 9:30pm EST/8:30pm CST on Fox TV. Check local listings for channel location. Featuring Christian Slater, Bret Harrison, Odette Annable, Alphonso McAuley and Trevor Moore. Produced by Adam F. Goldberg for Happy Madison Productions. senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Senior Staff Writer

© 2011 Patrick McDonald,

Anonymous's picture

Breaking In

Why does this show remind me of a retread of reaper which was far funnier than this mess. After five or six minutes I changed the channel. Changed it back five or six minutes before the show ended and I really don’t think I missed anything to speak of. The whole premise just seems lame .

Anonymous's picture

Breaking In

Honestly, If a show doesn’t grab me within the first ten minutes,then I’m out. Unfortunately, with Breaking in, I never made it to the ten minute mark. This show has some character comparisons that reminded me a bit of Reaper, a show I liked, but This one, not so much. Unfortunately with fox’s past record of bringing on a show and cancelling it in a short period of time, I don’t expect it to be any different for Breaking In and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was gone within a few weeks or so.

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