'Hello Ladies' review: Stephen Merchant strikes out on his own

It's not hard to understand why HBO would want to be in business with Stephen Merchant. The co-creator of "The Office," "Extras" and "Life's Too Short" with Ricky Gervais (the latter two shows aired on HBO), Merchant has an agile comic mind and is an underrated performer.Gervais has of late branched out into a few projects on his own (most recently "Derek," which just came to the United States on Netflix). Merchant follows suit with his first solo outing, "Hello Ladies," which he created and stars in. You can see the DNA of his past shows in it, but the execution comes up short.Merchant plays Stuart, a web designer in Los Angeles who is the exception to the rule that British accents automatically make a guy sexy. He's forever on the prowl, forever getting shot down. He's either tremendously optimistic or delusional, though, because he never adjusts his approach.To its credit, "Hello Ladies," which premieres...



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