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'LA To Vegas' Airliner Full of One-Liners
January 2, 2018  | By David Hinckley
 

Fox welcomes 2018 with LA To Vegas, a wacky new sitcom that inevitably echoes a bit of Airplane!

LA To Vegas, which premieres Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET, isn’t quite as addicted to bad puns and silly misunderstandings as Airplane! It has the same fondness for absurdity, conveyed more through rapid-fire one-liners.

The show revolves around Ronnie Messing (Kim Matula, return), a likeable if disorganized flight attendant for Jackpot Airlines, which ferries gamblers from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and back.

That premise populates the plane, and the cast in general, with suitably weird obsessives, mostly about gambling. Artem (Peter Stormare), one of those gamblers who will put down money on anything, takes bets on our first flight as to whether a young couple planning to get married in Vegas will actually tie that knot.

Dylan McDermott plays Captain Dave Pratman, with a ‘70s porn star mustache and maybe the goofiest lines he’s ever had to work with.

To his credit, he handles them well. Captain Dave, we find out, was once a first-rank pilot who now has been frustratingly relegated to “a puddle jumper” route. He consoles himself by trying to entice good-looking female passengers to have sex with him in the cabin. In the interest of discretion he locks the cabin door, so no one else will be there “except the copilot.”

Captain Dave has seemingly been written with a backstory that could give him a bit more dimension down the line. The way LA To Vegas comes out of the gate, though, serious storylines could have a hard time surviving in the show’s gag-packed world.

A sign of hope is that Ronnie also has a yearning for more, a fact we first learn through her conversations with her fellow flight attendant Bernard (Nathan Lee Graham). She became a flight attendant to see the world, to have adventures, and months later she too seems endlessly stuck on this shuttle, often with the same neurotic passengers.

Her ambitions could be altered by her chance meeting with Colin (Ed Weeks, left), a UCLA professor with whom she tumbles into a quickie in the bathroom. It feels like one more setup for a dozen one-liners (“That was so much more uncomfortable than I imagined!”) until we see that Ronnie and Colin have the first hints of a connection.

Whether a goofy satiric sitcom can morph itself into a rom-com feels like a longshot. It does itself no favors, if that’s the goal, by setting up as a machine gun firing jokes.  

The most salient indicator of where LA To Vegas might be going could be the fact it’s a Will Ferrell creation. Goofy absurdity melting into happy sentimentality would hardly be a stretch for a Ferrell project.

Though it leans a bit heavily on sex jokes, never a good sign for a show’s inner creativity, LA To Vegas has a heroine we like. That could buy it enough time to figure out what it wants to be when it grows up. Or rather when it figures out whether it wants to grow up.

 
 
 
 
 
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