Freed from the restraints of being daffy and arch, respectively, Christina Applegate and Will Arnett manage the neat trick of embodying both the couple you want to be in and the lovable weirdos with whom you’d hang out in NBC’s Up All Night.
New parents at an age somewhere between Bristol Palin and Holly Hunter (both opposite but equal poles on the uncomfortable scale), Applegate and Arnett are Reagan and Chris, a happily married couple trying to reconcile mouths like sailors with the tiny human they’ve just added to their home. Chris is the kind of stay at home dad who befriends surfer dads on play dates; Reagan is a producer of a daytime talk show hosted by Ava (Maya Rudolph, sprinkling a liberal amount of Tyra into her Saturday Night Live Oprah impression). And in the hands of Applegate and Arnett, they’re adorably goofy.
There’s a freshness and spontaneity to Up All Night that is usually lacking from sitcoms that don’t rely on a documentary format these days. The two leads’ share an easy chemistry that makes their relationship totally believable (and puts yours to shame). And Rudolph, as the blithely narcissitic Ava, never goes over the top. “Keep watching and growing,” she hums to fans she meets on the street, before ordering her assistant to buy a baby purse. “I think that’s a coin purse,” her assistant murmurs, but of course she goes in to buy it anyway. What’s being sold in Up All Night may be equally absurd at times, but practiced salesman like the core trio make it impossible to say no.
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