Cougar Town Review: Down Kitty

March 30, 2010 by  
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COUGAR TOWN: Tuesday March 30th, Living, 9pm ALERT ME

Ever since American Pie popularised the term MILF (look it up if you don’t know) with Stiffler’s mom and Ashton Kutcher started getting jiggy with Demi Moore, the Cougar has become almost a stock character.

In Cougar Town, Courteney Cox plays Jules, a divorced single mother who never got a chance to play the field when she was younger. Now in her forties and recently divorced, she runs a successful real estate business.

She’s also got a smart son in Travis who has a superbly dry wit but who’s destined to go through school with a permanent stoop from all the cringing he’s going to be doing, as Jules can’t help but say everything that’s on her mind.

Her two best friends – new mother Ellie struggling with a husband that she seems to think is unreasonable for actually wanting to have sex with her, and younger party-hard co-worker Laurie constantly urge her to get back in the game.

After a drink or three in a bar, she ends up playing bed sheet Twister with a much younger man which causes an insecurity overload on Jules’ part. While Courteney Cox plays neurotic extremely well, there’s a nagging sense that she hasn’t quite left her Monica Geller persona behind – she’s just swapped one set of neuroses for another.

It’s also difficult to swallow how worried about her body she actually is. Cougar Town begins with Jules critically examining herself in the mirror and frowning at her reflection but Cox is far too attractive for any hang-ups about the way she looks to be very believable.

In many ways, the supporting cast are actually more interesting than Jules herself. Her son Travis is much funnier, a deadly dead pan wit which is at times laugh-out-loud funny. “Why don’t you laugh at my jokes? implores Jules, “Because they make me sad? comes the reply.

Her chauvinist, irresponsible, tail-chasing ex-husband Bobby is even better; it’s just a shame that he gets the least screen time.

Less positive things can be said about the female support. All they ever talk about is sex. Consequently, they seem too eager to prove a point, “We’re mature women and we talk about sex. This is who we are. Look how confident about sex we are.?

There’s a lot of potential in Cougar Town. It’s written by Bill Lawrence, the creator of Scrubs, so it has a good comedy pedigree and Cox has a real talent for physical comedy. However, it’s much better when the pace slows down a little bit and focuses on Jules anxieties as a older single woman, instead of playing for cheap laughs.

It’s not quite as funny or memorable as either Scrubs or Friends but there’s plenty of potential to make it worth keeping an eye on to see if there’s any more bite.