James Caan 'Back in the Game' With New TV Comedy, But Will It Last?

Image: James Caan 'Back in the Game' With New TV Comedy, But Will It Last?

Friday, 27 Sep 2013 12:01 PM

By Clyde Hughes

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Veteran movie star James Caan gets a chance to show off his "horrifying" comedic talent in the new ABC series "Back in the Game."

Los Angeles Times television critic Mary McNamara describes Caan's character as a "high beer-guzzling grizzle, (who) owns the screen whenever he's on it, which is often. Like that other iconic mess of a baseball coach, Walter Matthau (of the 'Bad News Bears'), all Caan has to do is walk across the room and you laugh."

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That's all by design, Caan told ABC's "Good Morning America," who said he wanted to have fun with the character of Terry Gannon Sr. as pretty despicable father and grandfather.

"I made a deal that you have to allow me to be the most horrifying person on television," Caan said with a laugh on the morning show about his agreement to take the part.

New York Times writer Alessandra Stanley points out the relationship between Caan and his on-screen daughter, played by "Psych's" Maggie Lawson, who returns home after a failed marriage, has been explored recently in the Clinton Eastwood film "Trouble With the Curve" with Amy Adams and viewers will likely pick up on the similarities.

But the bigger challenge for Caan and Lawson could be making the show unique from the handful of similar series already out there in television land.

"While 'Game's' casting and writing is solid, the premise might not be unique enough to score a sizeable audience," Kristin Dos Santos wrote for E! News. "Lawson stars as a recently single mother who moves back in with her dad (Caan) following a failed marriage, and there are a slew of new fall shows reuniting grown children and their parents this season – 'The Millers,' 'Mom,' 'Dads' – not to mention last season's failed 'How to Live With Your Parents.' They're all starting to bleed together in our mind."

Caan was nominated for an Oscar and Golden Globe for his work in the iconic film "The Godfather" in 1973. One of his most memorable television performances also came in 1972, in his portrayal of Chicago Bear Brian Piccolo, who dies of cancer, in the TV movie "Brian's Song," for which he received an Emmy nomination.

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Related stories:

James Caan Proclaims He's Not a 'Hollywood Liberal'

Dina Eastwood Speaks Out on Divorce, Supports Husband Clint

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