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Tv Review : 'Lace Ii': 2nd Generation Schmaltz

May 04, 1985|HOWARD ROSENBERG | Times Television Critic

You might call this a real family story.

Last year's "Lace" solved the identity of Lily's mother. In the two-part "Lace II" (9 p.m. Sunday and Monday on Channels 7, 3, 10 and 42), she seeks the identity of her father. If there is a "Lace III," we'll probably get to her grandparents.

Lily (Phoebe Cates) is the snitty porno queen-turned-legit movie star who in "Lace I" finally discovered that her mother was Judy the American (Deborah Raffin), not the English Pagan (Brooke Adams) or the French Maxine (Arielle Dombasle).

For ABC's "Lace II," Lily loses her weird accent and snarl as she tries to raise $1 million to ransom her kidnaped mother from anti-government rebels in some unidentified Eastern country. No, this is not a comedy.

Lily hatches a plan with Pagan and Maxine to get the money from one of three men who may be her father: an Arab King (Anthony Higgins), a world-renowned German conductor (Patrick Ryecart) or an American astronaut (James Read).

One of the three raped Judy in the 1960s, leaving her pregnant with Lily. Sounds grim. Except that in "Lace II" rape is made to sound almost passionate and romantic, as in Judy being described merely as having to "make love . . . against her will." Bring on the violins.

Back to the present, meanwhile, where Judy falls in love with a rebel leader (Christopher Cazenove).

Written by Elliot Baker and filmed abroad, this is a handsomely produced story about beautiful people with beautiful teeth who hang out in beautiful places. You'll notice that Judy continues to look chic even when treated like a slug by the rebels. She also looks too young to be the mother of a 20ish Lily.

Not that it matters much, for "Lace II" is sort of a Shangri-La or Shangri-Schmaltz whose characters don't age in two decades. Part two especially is punctuated by great swells of music, and half the budget probably went for candlelabra. There is one Valentinoesque love scene here that will simply put you away.

The cast is generally good (all but Raffin are holdovers from the first "Lace") and Cates is better this year at being nice in "Lace II" than she was last year at being naughty.

It's a dopey drama with a truly absurd ending, but also an escapist's dream and a terrific way to rest your brain for four hours. And give credit to director Billy Hale, whose greatest achievement was probably getting through this with a straight face.

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