Because Running Wilde comes to us from three guys crucial to Arrested Development exec producers Mitch Hurwitz and Jim Vallely and exec producer/star Will Arnett — it arrives with certain higher expectations than we may be bringing to, say, Outsourced. And because Arnett costars in the sitcom with Keri Russell, it arrives with inevitable questions about their comedic compatibility.
It turns out that Russell holds her own with Arnett in this tale of a rich jerk (that would be Arnett) trying to buy the affections of a woman he’s loved for years (Russell). She uses her wide eyes to express disbelief at the foolish, spendthrift ways of Arnett’s Steven Wilde. Russell, who plays indigent professional do-gooder Emmy, also has a clever daughter named Puddle (the devilishly good Stefania Owen). This trio is supplemented by two characters who work for Steven, one of whom, Robert Michael Morris, will for me always be Mickey the makeup man on Lisa Kudrow’s great, short-lived The Comeback.
Another Arrested alum, David Cross, pops up very amusingly as Andy, Emmy?s fiancé, a radical environmentalist and a complete idiot. I wish I could report that this cheerfulsounding mishmash of talented performers results in big laughs, but it’s more like small ones — even for the sight gags, such as one involving a miniature pony. Tucked into a time period following the big, broad comedy of Raising Hope, Running Wilde seems like a boutique laugh factory. I wonder how long it can stay in business. B?