It seemed like a good idea at the time, didn’t it? Charlie Sheen, coming off nuclear heat and free from ratings juggernaut Two and a Half Men, wanted to stay in television. FX adapted the Adam Sandler comedy Anger Management with him in mind, as well, allowing him a known property on a network known for high quality comedy. Even after his disastrous stage shows Sheen was a commodity in Hollywood; the high cost of the show would be mitigated by how successful Anger Management the TV episodes was going to be, right?
Anger Management has managed to continually shed viewers as it goes along because the appeal of Sheen’s shenanigans weren’t enough to maintain an audience after the show debuted to a phenomenal 5.7 million viewers. There’s only so far a bad, unfunny television show can go based off the bad boy reputation of its lead actor alone it seems.
Sheen plays Charlie, a psychiatrist who deals with an anger management group. Throw in wacky shenanigans with his best friend with benefits (Selma Blair) and his family. It’s essentially Two and a Half Men but without one and a half men and none of the charm. Throw in some of Sheen’s family (Emilio Estevez, Martin Sheen) starring as fictional versions of his family and you have a nightmare FX is contractually obligated into for a long time.
The network is obligated into 90 episodes of the show due to the initial high ratings numbers the show got and the show feels more like an obligation than anything else. Sheen is game but he’s the wrong type for the show; he needs another main character to play off of and he doesn’t have that on this show.
That’s the show’s problem: Charlie Sheen is not a leading man in the traditional sense. He’s not a character actor either. He’s a leading man who needs someone else to help him with the heavy lifting. It’s what made Two and a Half Men work; he and Jon Cryer were good enough together to carry a show but not good enough separately. Both are good at carrying 2/3 of anything but not 100% of it.
It’s why Ashton Kutcher was brought aboard and why Sheen needs someone like Cryer for this show. That’s the inherent problem with Anger Management; it’s trying to craft the “Charlie Sheen” character from that show into this one without anyone to help him carry the water.
What remains without it is a star vehicle in need of a star.
A gag reel is included and is the only extra.
Lionsgate presents Anger Management. Starring Charlie Sheen, Selma Blair, Shawnee Smith, Daniela Bobadilla Running time: 484 minutes. Not Rated. Released: October 15, 2013.
Tags: Anger management, charlie sheen, FX