Likable actor Kyle Bornheimer can't seem to catch a break. He's always better than the TV comedies he gets cast in (think: "Perfect Couples," "Romantically Challenged"). That's true of even the best show in his past (CBS's 2008-09 comedy "Worst Week") and its certainly true of ABC's new "Family Tools" (8:30 p.m. Wednesday), an occasionally funny (but mostly not) show about a son who takes over his father's handyman business.
Mr. Bornheimer stars as Jack Shea, a genial screw-up whose latest disaster was being asked to leave "seminary school" just about the time his father, Tony (J.K. Simmons, "The Closer"), has a heart attack and needs Jack to take over the family business, Mr. Jiffy Fix.
Jack gladly comes home to live in the basement of the house his father shares with Jack's Aunt Terry (Leah Remini, "The Talk") and his oddball cousin Mason (Johnny Pemberton). But Jack is not prepared to deal with his father's assistant, Darren (Edi Gathegi), a slacker who's happy to complain about Jack during a phone call while in Jack's presence.
This week's pilot is all about the set-up of the series, which includes establishing Jack's loser credentials. "Family Tools" takes a slightly better turn in a future episode that finds Jack and Darren in the trenches together when Jack learns about the "tool belt effect" that turns blue collar workers invisible to the white collar employees at an ad agency where Mr. Jiffy Fix is hired to do some tasks.
This episode puts Jack and Darren on the same side, which makes Darren less annoying and Jack easier to cheer for, but "Family Tools" still doesn't manage to be all that funny.