Two and a Half Men: Season 7 (DVD)

Paul Cook 20/10/2010

Rating: 3.5/5

One of America's most consistently highly rated sitcoms has reached its seventh season release to DVD and if you can't wait until Dave is showing it five years down the line then the box set is a great stocking filler this Christmas. Two and a Half Men: Season Seven fits a familiar and comfortable pattern across all 22 episodes with short, sharp one-liners and the occasional (and absolutely welcome) slapstick skit.

Whilst the comedy is far from groundbreaking the success of the series is clearly visible in every episode. The repartee between brothers Charlie (Charlie Sheen) and Alan (Jon Cryer) and Alan's son Jake (Angus Jones) feels as natural as any US comedy. Charlie and Alan bicker as if they're still in high school and the ever-faithful voice of reason Berta (Conchata Ferrell), the guys' housekeeper, is always on hand to add a deadpan punchline or two.

The series centres on Charlie's seemingly perfect relationship with his beautiful fiancé Chelsea (Jennifer Bini Taylor) whilst Alan struggles in almost every area of his love life. With wedding plans on the cards it seems like Charlie, a self-proclaimed womanizer, is finally going to follow a relationship through to marriage until the inevitably rocky road sends the couple off course.

At times the comedy feels a little too preoccupied with sex as episode after episode seems hung up on it as if the 'sex sells' agenda was firmly in mind when writing each and every episode. Whereas this risqué form of comedy might once have ruled the roost on American television, the ageing Charlie Sheen now no longer boasts the looks nor the handsome jack-the-lad persona to pull it off.

Nevertheless there are frequent moments where the sibling rivalry and awkward father/son/uncle moments produce some originally quirky quips to please loyal fans and fresh followers alike. Angus Jones who plays Alan's teenage son Jake is a particularly strong character in the series playing disgruntled angst without the OTT door-slamming that most sitcom teens can't help but overplay.

Set almost entirely within the confines of Charlie's Malibu beach house, Two and a Half Men relies exclusively on the to-and-fro of verbal jousting between the lead characters. Few comedies are so heavily based on such a simple and repetitive format and so the show's pick-up-and-play watchability, whether you join an episode half way in or from the start, is a testament to the quality of the writing and the consistency of the performances.

Season seven of this much-heralded American sitcom is by no means the best comedy you'll find released on DVD but for fans of the show or those that catch the occasional episode and find themselves settling in until the end, it's well worth a watch. If you've seen enough of the womanizing Charlie Sheen then you had best steer clear because, despite an effort to phase this trait out of the character, it's still abundant in almost every episode.