Matthew Perry’s new show Mr Sunshine gets panned

Matthew Perry in Mr Sunshine

US critics find something missing at the heart of the Friends star’s new vehicle

BY Natalie Davies LAST UPDATED AT 14:01 ON Wed 9 Feb 2011

Former Friends star Matthew Perry must have hoped creating and starring in a new comedy for ABC might finally free him from the sardonic confines of his most famous TV role. But the first reviews of Mr Sunshine make more uncomfortable viewing than accompanying Chandler Bing on a double blind date.

Perry plays Ben Donovan, the socially-awkward manager of the Sunshine sports arena, who finds dealing with his staff something of a challenge.

Despite roping in heavyweight character actress and West Wing stalwart Allison Janney as the mentally unhinged arena owner and securing a raft of celebrity guests, the New York Daily News reports that Perry's new venture "just doesn't click".

"It's usually a bad sign when you spend most of the first episode of a new comedy making a mental list of the reasons it's not working," said Hank Stuever in the Washington Post.

"I hoped Mr Sunshine would reveal something socially telling about the arena realm, in the way that Sports Night once covertly illuminated the cultural meaning of cable sports networks.

"Turns out the Sunshine Center is just another place in which to stage a workplace comedy - no different than all those sitcoms about magazines or restaurants."

It's a double blow for Perry who has recently seen his former Friends colleagues find a measure of mainstream success in their own shows, with Courtney Cox hitting her stride as the cradle-snatching star of Cougar Town and Matt 'Joey' LeBlanc's well-received turn in the BBC comedy Episodes. · 

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