What is it about Charlie Sheen that makes people base fictional characters around his actual life? On Two and a Half Men he played a character named, well, Charlie, who seemed as hedonistic as the real-life Charlie Sheen. And now, following his very public breakdown and blow-up, Charlie Sheen returns to television in Anger Management, playing a character named, well, Charlie, who's trying to put his life together after a very public blow-up.

The setup of Anger Management is very simple. Charlie Sheen plays Charlie Goodson, a former minor league baseball player whose anger issues led to him publically injuring himself and ending his career. He then became a therapist, hoping to help other people deal with their anger issues. But he still has to deal with anger issues in his own life.
Anger Management seems to take all of its ideas from the painful cliches of sitcoms. The therapy group consists of a gay guy (Michael Arden) stuck next to an insulting homophobe (Barry Corbin, so wasted here), and an angry woman (Noureen DeWulf) and the nerdy guy (Derek Richardson) who finds her aggressiveness hot. So it's a "wacky" group of people who don't get along all stuck together! What fun!

Of course, there's the ex-wife (Shawnee Smith) who likes to see Charlie suffer, and the teenage daughter (Daniella Bobadilla) to give Charlie the obligatory responsible parental moments (and cheap laughs from her O.C.D.). There's Selma Blair as Kate, Charlie's sex buddy with no emotional attachment. Michael Boatman plays Michael, the fun-loving next-door neighbor. Brett Butler plays Brett (why so many actors use their own names for character names is beyond me), Charlie's bartender.

Anger Management is painfully unfunny. While Charlie Sheen opens the show with some none-too-subtle jabs at his last job, he runs through every scene playing Charlie Goodson exactly like Charlie Harper, from the hedonism to the timing. The supporting cast isn't funny, the joke setups are painful, and the jokes just aren't funny. I never saw Charlie Sheen's excesses as a recipe for humor on his last show, and they don't work at all on Anger Management either.

Overall grade: F
Reviewed by James Lynch

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