'Lonesome' deserves no company


January 22, 1992|By Steve McKerrow

Maybe the most mysterious thing about "Are You Lonesome Tonight," a new movie with Jane Seymour premiering on cable's USA Network tonight (at 9 o'clock), is the wind.

Nearing the climactic sequence that ends the woodenly presented thriller, several scenes take place in a terrific windstorm, one of the Los Angeles basin's famous Santa Anna storms.

Seymour's lush and long hair blows all over, covering her face at times, and her slinky dress whips and flaps wildly. Co-star Beth Broderick is similarly hampered by blowing tresses and clothing.

But why? The wind plays zero part in the development of the movie. You get the feeling the movie was merely budgeted for shooting on a tight schedule, and they just had to put up with the prevailing conditions.

Unfortunately, this is a budget film all the way, in spite of the presence of the classy Seymour, who must need the work badly. The mystery is impossible to solve because there are no worthwhile clues, the central romantic relationship (Seymour with Parker Stevenson) is impossible to believe because there's no discernible chemistry, and the ending is impossible to watch with any sense of involvement because it's merely ridiculous.

For the record, Seymour is Adrienne Welles, a wealthy wife who discovers her husband has been making and taping telephone calls to a fantasy phone-sex partner, Laura (Broderick) -- a literal call girl. Listening to one of the tapes, Seymour seems to hear something horrible happen to her husband. Murder, perhaps?

Stevenson plays a private investigator who comes to Adrienne's aid, and he soon discovers her husband was involved in some shady dealings. And then Adrienne finds Laura and they strike up an uneasy alliance and. . .well, it gets complicated, but never enough to care too much about these cardboard characters.



* The scheduled repeat episode of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" at 8 o'clock (Channel 45) is one of the best of this series entire run, a land-based story of unusual depth and character. Picard (Patrick Stewart) returns to his family homestead, while Klingon Worf (Michael Dorn) is visited by his adoptive human parents (Theodore Bikel and Georgia Brown).

* There was a reason Jack Benny never admitted to being older than 39, as a two-part documentary proves tonight on Maryland Public Television. The focus of "40 Something" (at 9 o'clock) is mid-life, the years which many people find most stressful.

* Another of life's potential stress zones, the latter years, is the focus of CBS' "48 Hours" (at 10, Channel 11).

Legal guardianship of the elderly is the issue of "For Love or Money," a touchy, tangled problem in many families. Dan Rather hosts.

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