“Frank of Ireland,” starring Dublin-born actor brothers Domhnall and Brian Gleeson, is a hit-or-miss affair.
The six-episode, half-hour comedy series, premiering April 16 on Amazon, has some funny moments while sometimes veering into a live-action, sophomoric take on dim-bulb pals “Beavis and Butt-Head.”
Younger brother Brian takes the lead here as 32-year-old man-child Frank Marron, who’s still living at home in suburban Dublin with his randy mother, Mary (Pom Boyd), who’s both critical of, and in sync with, her son’s temperament and sense of humor. They feed off of each other, though neither would readily admit that.
Frank fancies himself as a singer/songwriter (he’s working on a “concept album” with songs titled after every county in Ireland — but has gotten no further). He still holds a flame for his ex, Aine (Sarah Greene); they broke up six years ago and she claims to have moved on, despite occasionally finding comfort in Frank’s bed.
His aptly-named best pal/sidekick, Doofus (Domhnall), works at the local supermarket and worships the ground on which Frank walks, often to his detriment. He’s thisclose to a caricature but, on occasion, is insightful about his life and his simpatico relationship with Frank, even when their friendship is tested. (Doofus is Beavis to Frank’s Butt-Head.) Their shared obsession with movies is a motif that runs throughout — including Harvey Keitel’s raunchy dialogue in “Taxi Driver,” Kevin Costner (in both “Dances With Wolves” and “Waterworld”) and an off-kilter homage to “Misery” when Brian is pressed into service caring for his bedridden mother (what could possibly go wrong?)
You get the feeling, as “Frank of Ireland” progresses that it sometimes tries a little too hard to wring laughs from any number of awkward situations a la “Curb Your Enthusiasm” (sans the mockumentary backdrop) — and you wonder why the surrounding characters don’t take more offense to Frank and Doofus’ disastrous social miscues and mishaps in the series, which was written by the Gleesons and Michael Moloney.
At the same time, both Domhall, 37, and Brian, 33, show a distinct flair for comedy when not forcing the issue. They’re no rookies in front of the camera, with years of experience between them, including Domhnall’s two “Harry Potter” and “Star Wars” movies (as Bill Weasley and Gen. Armitage Hux) and his co-starring role opposite Merritt Wever in the seven-episode HBO comedy-thriller series “Run.” Brian’s TV/film resume, meanwhile, reaches back 15 years (he was memorable as Billy Boys leader Jimmy McCavern on Season 5 of “Peaky Blinders”).
The brothers have a comfortable on-screen chemistry, the writing is often sharp and you can believe that Frank and Doofus would be pals within their Looney tunes universe.
“Frank of Ireland,” launching April 15 on the UK’s Channel 4 (it’s a co-production), isn’t for everyone. It’s a pleasant enough diversion and each episode flows into the next smoothly — so you won’t feel like you’re wasting your time in following the lowbrow antics of two guys you would likely steer clear of in real life.