'Clover' more lucky than good

Best bet

September 10, 1997|By Chris Kaltenbach

Strong performances from Ernie Hudson and especially Elizabeth McGovern prevent "Clover" (9 p.m.-11 p.m., USA) from drowning in its good intentions.

Adapted from a 1990 novel by Dori Sanders, "Clover" begins with the marriage of young Clover's widower father, Gaten (Hudson), to Sara Kate (McGovern). The fact that Gaten is black and Sara Kate white suggests there'll be plenty of tension. The fact that several of Gaten's relatives are openly hostile confirms it. And Gaten's quick death in a car accident ensures it'll get ugly.

"Clover" is awash in good intentions, and its insistence that the main problem Sara Kate and Gaten's family (particularly his sister-in-law, Everleen) face has nothing to do with race and everything to do with family makes an interesting point.

Still, too many characters' emotions turn on a dime, particularly when it comes to resolving the conflict between Everleen and Sara Kate. It's all way too treacly; a slightly harder edge would have turned a nice film into a good one.

Pub Date: 9/10/97

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