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TV Picks: 'Wrong Mans,' TV Guide, 'MasterChef Jr.,' 'Burning Love'
"The Wrong Mans" (Hulu, beginning Monday). James Corden and Mathew Baynton, both from Britain's "Gavin & Stacey," co-wrote and costar in this fine action comedy, co-produced by Hulu and the BBC. As the title suggests, it's Hitchcock times two, comically. The stars play acquainted quasi-co-workers -- Baynton a "town planning and noise guidance adviser" for a suburban county council and Corden a "31-year-old mail distribution assistant" who "works for the building" -- whom fate makes allies and friends after Baynton finds a cellphone whose unidentified caller says, "If you're not here by 5 o'clock, we'll kill your wife." Nervous skinny guy plus overconfident round guy add up to the adventure both desperately need. (In "Parks and Recreation" terms, if that's at all helpful, you can think of them as a less cool Ben Wyatt -- Baynton resembles Adam Scott, in a stretched-out way -- and more able Andy Dwyer, before Chris Pratt got buff.) I admit to having been lost at times within the story's tangled threads, which involve plots both local and international, but as in Hitchcock, that's somewhat beside the point; what matters is to keep things moving. There are many things in it familiar to the genre, but the borrowings fit the tone of the story, in which ordinary life suddenly becomes something out of a movie; it feels fresh in the way that kids at play make spy or space stories their own. This is just that with a budget, some experience and the help of Jennifer Saunders and Rebecca Front and David Harewood, among interesting others.
By Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
November 7, 2013