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Ghost Canyon

'Two and a Half Men: The Complete Sixth Season'
(Charlie Sheen, Jon Cryer, Angus T. Jones, et al / 4-Disc DVD / NR / 2009 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: Charlie Sheen takes a starring role in TWO AND A HALF MEN, a genial CBS comedy about a dysfunctional family. Sheen plays Charlie Harper, who enjoys the bachelor life in his Malibu beach house. His existence consists of an endless stream of partying and dating until his brother, Alan (Jon Cryer) and his son Jake (Angus T. Jones), move in with him!

DVD Verdict: Most of my friends who have seen this show wouldn't think twice before they concurred: it's flat out hilarious. I had my reservations about Charlie Sheen in a role not unlike his cameo at the tail-end of Spin City--a suave yuppie and a consummate Lothario--but he is the delight of this party! Few can fit so snugly in the role of a relaxed, affluent young retiree lounging in his Malibu seafront apartment when he's not effortlessly schmoozing with the opposite gender. He's at his wry sharpest.

There's excellent chemistry between him and Jon Cryer, who plays his uptight, righteous elder brother. As they tackle mature subjects such as frivolous relationships and artificial insemination and pretty much everything that surrounds this nature of things, the brother's smart-mouthed son is kept ever so cleverly in the dark. These parallel tracks of young and old humor lend the show some sparkling dimensions.

And his son, Angus Jones, is a natural. An outspoken housekeeper, a domineering mother, and a cutting curmudgeon of an ex-wife round out an ensemble cast; any episode featuring Holland Taylor's portrayal of a prim and proper modern-day mom of the two brothers in her crisp Chanel skirts and bright red lipstick can almost guarantee a laugh-riot.

The true hallmark of a successful sitcom is the degree to which you end up warming up to its characters. Amidst its spate of one-liners, 2&1/2 Men does a fairly decent job of making viewers relate to its characters. None of these archetypal characters is new, but each is idiosyncratic without being wildly over-the-top.

The Emmy-winning sitcom 'Two and a Half Men' hits a peak in both character development and comedy in its sixth season. Change is the key to the season's appeal, and specifically in regard to unrepentant bachelor Charlie (Charlie Sheen), who finally begins to see the error of his hedonistic ways--in "A Jock Strap in Hell," he discovers that his fling with nephew Jake's former teacher (Alicia Witt) has pushed her into stripping--and even approaches something like a monogamous relationship with the spunky Chelsea (guest star Jennifer Bini Taylor).

The maturation of Charlie's character, albeit brief, is a welcome surprise for the show, which all too often abandoned the ingratiating interplay between its cast in favor of crass bedroom and bathroom jokes. However, for those who appreciate that aspect of Men's humor, fear not: there's plenty of it on hand in Season 6, though stronger laughs can be found in the conflict between Jon Cryer's Alan, ex-wife Judith (Marin Hinkle), who's expecting her first daughter, and amiable new husband Herb, amusingly played by Drew Carey vet Ryan Stiles.

This is a Widescreen presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and the wonderful four-disc set also includes: all 23 episodes of Men's sixth season, as well as several light and likable extras. Juvenile lead Angus T. Jones gets the spotlight in "Growing Up Harper," and his grounded, unaffected demeanor in the face of a hit show offers a refreshing alternative to the public's general feelings about young actors. Equally entertaining is "Let's Hear It for the Girls: The Women of Two and a Half Men," which gives welcome coverage to its female cast, including series utility players Melanie Lynskey and Conchata Ferrell. An amusing gag reel rounds out the supplemental features.

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