STUDIO: Sony Pictures
MSRP: $29.95
RATED: Not Rated
RUNNING TIME: 277 minutes

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The Pitch

Love is crazy, love is kind, love wants nothing to do with a short, skirt-chasing, horny little David Spade.

The Humans

Megyn Price, Patrick Warburton, David Spade, Bianca Kajlich, Oliver Hudson, and Adhir Kalyan.

The Nutshell

Rules of Engagement, currently in its fifth season on CBS, is a television sitcom that deals with the issues of love and relationships through the lives of an old married couple, a young soon-to-be-wed couple, and a horny player. Using the three different stages of relationships gives a wide range of topics to make fun of.

The Lowdown

I have a hard time committing to the current sitcoms. I may watch an episode of something here and there, but I’m a movie guy, first and foremost. My DVR is full of movies recorded off every HD channel I have, and my Netflix account has more than 800 movies in the DVD and Instant queues combined. I don’t have time to keep up on the local channels, and find that most sitcoms I do catch here and there do not keep me interested in the slightest.

It’s been hard over the years to be available on that weekly basis to catch a show that tells little story and is mainly a vehicle for jokes. I think over the years I formed a habit that stopped me from watching sitcoms and keeps me from being interested in regular TV. The DVR really changed it for me. Maybe it was easier when there weren’t so many entertainment options to be available in front of our TV every Monday evening for M.A.S.H., or Thursday for the Cosby Show, Cheers, or Seinfeld. Thanks to my DVR, I can enjoy today’s sitcoms on my terms, especially since the good ones are few and far between. Rules of Engagement is one of the few-and-far-betweeners.

Chewers, if you don’t get the reference here, you fail.

It’s hard to review a sitcom season. There is no beginning and no end, so there’s little character growth, contrived drama, and simple misunderstandings that are always resolved in 22 minutes. Since most sitcoms are vehicles for a series of jokes to be played out, it basically becomes something like a stand up routine. If you like the person doing the jokes, you’ll like the show. And in Rules of Engagement, it’s all about the actors.

Rules of Engagement is a comedy based on relationships. The setup revolving around the three couples provides plenty of fodder for covering the wide gamut of issues that affect most people. Issues ranging from one night stands, getting old, to getting rid of the belligerent old father-in-law keep the show fresh and grounded.

Bianca enjoyed the benefits of having her own Manitou. It was useful for picking up old men. And devouring them.

In the role of the single player, David Spade really gets to be the lovable little dirt-bag he’s been playing for years. If you like his humor and delivery, you’ll love him here. He gets a lot of laughs for his cavalier attitude of being a douchebag. Some might take offense to that, but I think he relishes the role, as he kinda was getting phased out in the future-roles department (Grown Ups, anyone?)

For the part of the engaged lovers, Bianca Kajlich and Oliver Hudson (Kate’s brother) originally played somewhat boring characters that got into simple arguments that usually relied on the naivety of Hudson’s character. Season three turned things around a bit, by finally going all out and making him straight up oblivious and dumb. It changed things by letting the other actors play off it instead of ignoring it.

The best part about Rules of Engagement is the pairing of Warburton and Price. Patrick’s dry delivery and camaraderie with Megyn Price really is the heart of the show. Their decade long relationship (sans kids) brings a lot of material aimed at what I would assume is the target audience. There are quite a few mishaps that occur during this season that are common in relationships of that length. And the spin the writers put on it coupled with the delivery of the two is what makes the show really work. It’s no wonder they share the majority of screen time.

Spade wondered why the Indiana Jones “here” line never worked for him.

Season three of the show added a new character, and it altered the dynamics of the show in a good way. As the prim and proper Indian assistant to David Spades’ character, Timmy (Adhir Kalyan) provides a perfect foil, confidant, and springboard for Spade’s jokes and actions. Before the Timmy character, Spade played off of the other couples, and it usually left him looking like a freak. With the addition of Timmy, he now has his own partner to work his jokes with.

There were a few guest stars of significance in season three. Brian Dennehy played Warburton’s stodgy, chauvinistic father who visits and ends up hurting himself by falling at their apartment. As he stays on the couch and recuperates for a few days, he decides to sue his son’s insurance company for damages, as well as treats his daughter-in-law like a servant. Of course, everything ends up peachy in the end.

Episode 3, “Jeff’s New Friend,” introduces Orlando Jones as a friend that Warburton makes at the gym. He doesn’t realize that Jones is gay, and this leads to a fun Three’s Company-ish episode where misunderstandings play on each other until the whole things boils to a head, and of course ends up peachy again.

Megyn was skeptical of a Jackass/Rules of Engagement merger. Patrick on the other hand…

I really enjoy Rules of Engagement. It’s a good combination of actors and a relevant topic that is handled deftly and with variety. It doesn’t always hit, but the actors pull it off, and Warburton and Spade are especially good at their delivery. Season three was a turning point for the series, and it continues to be good through the current season.

The Package

As with other seasons of Rules of Engagement, there are no bonuses on this disk. There are slim fancy cases that the disks come in, but the only thing you’ll find are the episode stops. No extras for you!

8.0 out of 10