The clunky title reflects fairly accurately on the first episode of The Wrong Mans, but as of the second episode it seems to have picked up some pace and a few much needed gags. This is James Corden’s newest TV venture, though this time he has teamed up with Horrible Histories’ Mathew Baynton to bring us a show that is something of a comedic thriller. Watching this one just for the jokes will probably leave you feeling cheated.
The premise is comical; Sam Pinkett (Baynton), a Berkshire council worker, stumbles hungover and regretting a drunken call or two to his ex-girlfriend the night before, across a car crash. Innocuous so far, sure, but on picking up a mobile from the scene of the crash, Sam finds himself embroiled in a hostage situation in which a woman’s life is in danger. Corden enters as Phil, the office idiot, and together they are The Wrong Mans, caught up in a case of mistaken identity.
By the second episode the setting is done and the show hits its stride as an awkward sort of comedy that plays on the utter ridiculousness of grown men sent into desperate panic. Baynton’s tall, geeky anxiety-filled council worker contrasts well with Corden’s big, over-the-top lad-turned-office-lacky; they look the part of a traditional double act. Though it expects the viewer to invest in the plot, which may or may not stand up to scrutiny, The Wrong Mans sets itself up as a clever parody of shows like 24. It is an ambitious show, and sometimes unsure of its own tone, but the jokes when they happen are worth the wait.