Opinion Brief

Ashton Kutcher: A 'smart choice' to replace Charlie Sheen?

It's official. Ashton Kutcher — not Hugh Grant — will take over for the troubled tabloid fixture on the hit show Two and a Half Men

Hugh's out and Ashton's in. That's the big news in the saga of the troubled sitcom Two and a Half Men. Earlier this week, fans and critics were tantalized by reports that Hugh Grant had come close to replacing the off-the-rails Charlie Sheen on the hit comedy. Now, CBS has announced an official replacement — square-jawed everydude Ashton Kutcher. The Punk'd producer/Valentine's Day star/Demi Moore spouse is being called a "smart choice" for the role. Is he?

Yes, Kutcher's a lot like Sheen... only sober: Kutcher is "a great fit for the show," says Alan Sepinwall at HitFix. Like Sheen, he has a "certain tabloid notoriety," and while Grant would have been a more intriguing, "brilliant" choice, Kutcher should do the trick. He certainly won't reinvent the role, but all CBS needs and wants is someone to keep its cash cow alive a few more years. "Why Ashton Kutcher's a smart choice to replace Charlie Sheen on Two and a Half Men"

And Kutcher is very safe and reliable: At 33, Mr. Demi Moore is "an enormously sensible choice," says Linda Holmes at NPR. He'll make the show feel instantly younger and fresher, minus the offscreen drama. Kutcher, who chose to settle down with an older woman with kids "at the height of his hotness," is unlikely "to wind up ranting about goddesses on TMZ." What's more, the That '70s Show veteran boasts a "strong background in broadcast television comedy" and 6.5 million Twitter followers who might tune in."Ashton Kutcher is joining Two And A Half Men this fall"

Eh, it all depends: The prospects for success here have "less to do with the star than with how well the show is adapted to fit him," says James Poniewozik at TIME. Given that producers were reportedly in talks with the vastly different Hugh Grant, they may be floundering and fail to use Kutcher correctly. Still, Kutcher might work "well enough" to extend the life of the "long-in-the-tooth sitcom" for a few more seasons. "Reports: Two and a Half Men minus Sheen, plus Kutcher"

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