Primetime Emmy nominee Christina Applegate (Samantha Who?), Maya Rudolph (Bridesmaids) and Will Arnett (Arrested Development) star in this smart, irreverent comedy about adjusting to life with a newborn. Reagan (Applegate) and her husband, Chris (Arnett), have long enjoyed partying with their famous talk show host friend, Ava (Rudolph), but their glamorous lives change with the unexpected arrival of their daughter. Follow their wild and relatable journey through parenthood with this three-disc set that includes all 24 Season One episodes and features phenomenal guest stars Jason Lee (My Name is Earl), Molly Shannon (Saturday Night Live), Megan Mullally (Will and Grace), and music icons Alanis Morissette and Stevie Nicks. Written and produced by Saturday Night Live veteran Lorne Michaels, this is one show worth staying up for!
Debuting on DVD with 24 first-season episodes on three discs, Up All Night
has an attractive cast (led by Christina Applegate, Will Arnett, and Maya Rudolph), a relatable premise, good writing, and the kind of upbeat, affirming message most sitcoms mix in with the yuks. But it might be that what it doesn't
have--like a laugh track, a studio audience, and the limitations imposed by being restricted to a couple of sets on a Hollywood sound stage--is what lifts this show above others of its ilk. Applegate and Arnett play Reagan and Chris Brinkley, a working couple (she's a TV producer, he's a lawyer) who, in the course of the first episode, discover that Reagan is pregnant and welcome their first child into the family. Complications ensue: sleep deprivation, career questions (Chris quits his job to stay home with baby Amy, while Reagan soon returns to work), trying to keep the romantic flame burning with a mewling kid in the other room, meddling parents and in-laws, worrying about school (already!), and various other issues that most new parents can identify with. And then there's Reagan's boss and best bud, Ava Alexander (Rudolph), an Oprah-style talk show host and singer. Clueless and self-involved, Ava has plenty of boyfriends (and problems), and in Rudolph's hands she's the most consistently hilarious character on the show--potentially the most irritating too, were it not for the fact that the writers seem to get a better handle on her about a third of the way through the season, giving her a good heart to go with her ditzy brain. Creator Emily Spivey reportedly based the series on her own experience, which supplies a nice dose of slightly exaggerated reality to the proceedings. But it's the lack of laugh track and other aforementioned elements that are perhaps most notable. There are fewer pauses while actors wait for the audience (real or fake) to crack up; dialogue is both written and delivered more naturally; and instead of being artificially prompted to guffaw, viewers can decide for themselves whether jokes (like Reagan's description of Ava's boyfriend's nightclub as "a soul-sucking skank fest") are actually funny or not. Add to that guest stars like Henry Winkler, Megan Mullally, Molly Shannon, Blythe Danner, and semi-regular Jason Lee, and Up All Night
is a winner. --Sam Graham