'Family Tree' series premiere: HBO's newest mockumentary charms in spite of its meandering nature

"Family Tree," the new HBO comedy from Christopher Guest, premiered Sunday (May 12), telling the story of Tom Chadwick (Chris O'Dowd), who begins to explore his family heritage after inheriting a box of trinkets from a great aunt he never met.The premiere is chock full of charm, allowing O'Dowd to capitalize on the good will he generated from his revelatory turn in "Bridesmaids." But is charm enough to sell a comedy? The premiere also feels like it's crawling towards its end -- not an indicator of high-quality comedy.Sure, it has to introduce a world -- tonight, we meet Tom's dad Keith (played by Guest regular Michael McKean) and sister Bea (played by Nina Conti), along with best friend Pete Stupples (Tom Bennett). But is that world enough of an excuse to avoid actual laughs?There's a strange subplot with Bea, who carries with her a monkey hand puppet to reveal her honest thoughts. Why the monkey?...


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