Ignoring this `Mother' wouldn't be a bad idea

Today's TV

May 19, 2001

"Like Mother, Like Son: The Strange Story of Sante and Kenny Kimes" has a big name star in the credit and a sensational real-life story as its basis. Don't let that fool you into wasting one of the best nights of television viewing this year on a failed CBS movie.

The film stars Mary Tyler Moore as Sante Kimes, a compulsive thief and con artist, who trained her son, Kenny (Gabriel Olds), since childhood to be her accomplice. The pair makes headlines when they murder a wealthy New York woman (Jean Stapleton) in an attempt to take over the fabulous home she owns on New York's Upper East Side.

The main problem is Moore; she plays Sante so far over the top, only the most diehard Moore fans will be able to take it for more than 30 minutes. In addition, the two-hour film has the look of a sloppy four-hour miniseries that the network tried to save in the editing room. If there were any sense of coherence, rhythm and storytelling in the film when it arrived, it died on the operating table.

Airs tomorrow night at 9 on WJZ (Channel 13).-- David Zurawik

At a glance

"Walker, Texas Ranger" (8 p.m.-10 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) - The series comes to an end after nine seasons. Walker (Chuck Norris) and his cohorts hang up their crime-fighting gear and walk off into the Texas sunset. CBS.

"The Color Purple" (8 p.m.-11 p.m., WUTB, Channel 24) - Based on Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about 40 years in the tumultuous life of a Southern black woman, this 1985 film was directed by Steven Spielberg. UPN.

Cable

"Biography" (8 p.m.-9 p.m., A&E) - This episode showcases Mitzi Gaynor, who moved to Hollywood at age 14 to pursue her dream of being a star like her idol, Betty Grable.

"Platoon" (8 p.m.-10 p.m., TNT) - Charlie Sheen plays a new recruit during the Vietnam War. He learns that his platoon is divided against itself by a battle-scarred sergeant (Tom Berenger).

"Foxy Brown" (11 p.m.-1 a.m., BET) - A film about a woman whose drug-dealing brother ratted on her boyfriend, an undercover narcotics-agent, to the mob. So she poses as a call girl to infiltrate the gangsters who butchered him. Starring the original Foxy Brown, Pam Grier. Part of the station's '70s Soul Cinema Series.

Compiled from wire reports by Sarah Kickler Kelber

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