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'Me, Myself, & I' review: Bobby Moynihan is charming in ambitious, yet flawed sitcom

Bobby Moynihan stars in

Bobby Moynihan stars in "Me, Myself & I," a new CBS sitcom that follows his character Alex Riley through the past, present and future. Photo Credit: CBS / Neil Jacobs

In this ambitious sitcom, the audience is introduced to the same character in three different timelines -- at three very different life stages. There's 14-year-old Alex (Jack Dylan Grazer), 40-year-old Alex (Bobby Moynihan), and 65-year-old Alex (John Larroquette), all at transitional points in their lives -- moving, divorce, retirement.

Structurally, it's an interesting approach, but ultimately a flawed one. It's hard to invest too much in any particular timeline when we can see the origins, or the end result, in one of the other timelines. The show has to work overtime to establish not just one but three settings, which inevitably doesn't serve each. Plus, it is really hard to conceptualize how the show would continue to be interesting once we get to know more about Alex; how could anything in his 14-year-old life have dramatic stakes, if we already know what he's like at 40?

In what is likely an attempt to mimic the success of NBC's "This Is Us," "Me, Myself, & I" relies on schmaltz when nuts-and-bolts plotting fails it. The pilot revolves around Alex's youthful crush on a classmate, his subsequent divorce from another woman, and then his realization, at age 65, that he can make a go for it with the one that got away.

The problem is that all of this treacly storytelling centers on a guy who is really not very interesting. The show frames him as an adorably goofy inventor with a Michael Jordan obsession, but if you pan out, Alex is a strung-out pitchman who never got over the girl he asked out in junior high.

Still, Moynihan and Larroquette are charming enough, and threads about parenting, dreams, and basketball could make for a warm, if not particularly funny, family sitcom.

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