Fox's charming 'Ben and Kate' offers humor, heart

Fox series debuts at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday
By John Crook Modified: September 20, 2012 at 11:42 pm •  Published: September 22, 2012

One of the fall's most delightful new comedies, Fox's “Ben and Kate,” which premieres at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, revolves around a pair of odd-couple siblings (Nat Faxon, Dakota Johnson) joined at the hip following a childhood that clearly was no bed of roses.

Forced by aloof parents to more or less parent each other, Ben and Kate Fox have spent their recent years living in different California cities. At the moment, Kate is working as a bar manager to support Maddie (Maggie Elizabeth Jones), her precocious daughter, whose unplanned arrival five years ago forced Kate to drop out of college just shy of graduation and put her life on hold, acting responsibly and following the rules, just as she has all her life.

That structured world gets turned upside down in the series premiere with the arrival of irrepressible big brother Ben, who needs to crash on her couch for a few days while he prevents a woman he loves from marrying another man, but it's not long before he starts to notice danger signals when it comes to kid sister's latest beau (guest star Jon Foster).

The cast also includes the effervescent British comedy star Lucy Punch as BJ, Kate's British best friend who is always ready to provide dubious romantic advice and even shadier baby-sitting services, and Echo Kellum as Tommy, Ben's frequent partner in a long-running series of pranks and nutty schemes. Make no mistake, however, it's the warm, unforced chemistry between Faxon and Johnson that powers this engaging family comedy.

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