Sweet, Womanizing Kutcher a Fine Stand-in for Sheen

Critics not gushing, but they're mostly pleased with premiere
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 20, 2011 9:18 AM CDT

(Newser) – Charlie Sheen’s character “exploded like a balloon full of meat,” another character explained last night as Two and a Half Men premiered and finally killed him off. Meanwhile, Ashton Kutcher also debuted as Walden Schmidt. What the critics are saying:

  • Turns out Schmidt is “sweet, unsarcastic but—here we stay true to the show's gawping bawdiness—possessed of an astounding anatomical endowment that he soon puts to use,” writes Tom Gliatto in People. “The instant verdict: Kutcher was not at all bad. He was quite likable."
  • “Fear not,” fans, declares Fox News. “Even without Charlie Sheen, your favorite show isn’t changing much." Like Sheen’s character, Schmidt is a womanizer—albeit an accidental one—and “the show’s producers barely changed gears. … With Kutcher loosely playing himself as a savant ladies’ man, it’s likely that Charlie Harper—or Sheen—won’t be missed."

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  • “The ghost of Charlie hung over the new version of Two and a Half Men, but it didn't exactly cast a pall. It launched the show into what looks like a promising new chapter,” writes Scott D. Pierce in the Salt Lake Tribune. “It was funny. Really funny.”
  • Most critics were at least mildly impressed, but not all: “CBS’ replacement of Charlie Sheen with the younger, far less talented Kutcher seems a clear acknowledgement of Sheen’s ownership of the Charlie Harper role,” writes Rachel Ray in the Telegraph. “It can’t be replicated so why try." (Click for another negative take.)
Click to watch a clip of Kutcher’s first appearance. (Read more Charlie Sheen stories.)

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