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New in 2005

Living with Fran, if we must

Sunday, April 3, 2005; Page Y04

'Living With Fran'

Fridays at 8:30 p.m. on WB

The tagline you'll never see: "Robbing the cradle, but who cares?"

The basics: Recent divorcee Fran Reeves (Fran Drescher) is finding herself. She's started a new interior design business. She's bonding with her 15-year-old wisecracking daughter. And she's recently welcomed her son back home after he got booted out of med school. The only problem: There's another kid at home -- the 26-year-old contractor she loves (Ryan McPartlin). And their age difference causes some family rifts. (Surprise, surprise!)

The lowdown: Drescher won Emmy nods for her role on "The Nanny," and fans of that CBS show just might find something appealing about "Living with Fran."

Reality check: The acting is decent, though Misti Traya steals every scene she's in with her deadpan teen-angst-filled expressions. ("Why can't I just watch him go mental?" she whines to her mom about her big brother.) Unfortunately, she's a minor player in a minor-league production. The dialogue is as predictable as Drescher's laugh is annoying. And the "oh my goodness -- we have an age difference!" plots get old pretty darn quick.

-- Debra Leithauser


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