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TV review: Tori Spelling, Jennie Garth reunite in 'Mystery Girls'

TV review: Tori Spelling, Jennie Garth reunite in 'Mystery Girls'

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'Mystery Girls,' 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays on ABC Family beginning tonight (June 25)

Two stars (out of four)

From 1990 to 2000, Jennie Garth and Tori Spelling starred together on Fox's "Beverly Hills, 90210," which became one of TV's biggest shows with younger viewers and shaped a whole generation of soapy teen dramas.

In the 14 years since, they have taken different paths. Spelling became a fixture on reality TV, while Garth kept a lower profile, starring in TV movies and the sitcom "What I Like About You."

It's a cute idea to reunite Garth and Spelling, and spoof their past, in the new ABC Family series "Mystery Girls" (7:30 p.m. Wednesdays). But beyond that, the show (co-created by Spelling) is standard-issue cable sitcom, with acting that's too broad (Garth is the exception here) and a laugh track that's loud and awkward.

Garth plays Charlie, who got married and had a daughter. Spelling is Holly, still a diva, living on the memory of their 1990s detective show, "Mystery Girls." They have deliberately lost touch, until a real police case brings them back together -- a young man (Miguel Pinzon) who witnessed a crime will give evidence only to the "Mystery Girls."

Before they know it, the two have opened a detective agency together. (Charlie really should have asked more questions.) The first half-hour is devoted to that setup, so we have to assume further episodes will find the "Girls" haplessly solving various quirky crimes. 

"Mystery Girls" is paired with the superior "Young & Hungry" (7 p.m.; two and a half stars out of four), which doesn't have a gimmick and does have a laugh track but is grounded by the charms of Emily Osment, grown up from her "Hannah Montana" days.

Osment is Gabi, a cook and food blogger who really, really needs work. She applies to become personal chef to tech millionaire Josh (Jonathan Sadowski), but is edged out by "Top Chef" winner Michael Voltaggio (playing himself in the pilot). Soon, though, Josh is won over by Gabi's grilled cheese, mashed potatoes and other attributes.

Rex Lee (Lloyd on "Entourage") is Josh's personal assistant, with Kym Whitley as his sassy housekeeper. 

"Young & Hungry" is nicely paced, and even in the first episode, the humor is character-driven. It's as uncomplicated, and tasty, as a good grilled cheese.

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Gail Pennington is the television critic for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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