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TV Reviews : A Holiday Tale About a Town Without Heart

December 22, 1990|IRV LETOFSKY

Sure, Christmas is a dreamy kind of time--if you've found your way through the shopping traffic and made it home with your patience intact and can think about more pleasant things. "Guess Who's Coming for Christmas," airing Sunday night at 9 on Channels 4, 36 and 39, is a lightweight but pleasant, dreamy yarn about the delights of keeping your head in the clouds.

It's a cheap TV-network-kind of title, since the story has about as much to do with Christmas as the Easter bunny, but the mood suits the season.

The story--by executive producer Beth Polson, with script by Blair Ferguson and direction by Paul Schneider--takes place in Grovers Mill (sound familiar, anyone?), a dying sort of tiny town that's likewise losing its heart. Well, one day old George (Richard Mulligan), the town character, a kindly guy who used to run the hardware store, meets Arnold Zimmerman (Beau Bridges) and strikes up a good friendship.

Arnold, who wears a pin-striped suit and carries a briefcase, explains that he designs shopping malls but commutes from another planet in his spaceship.

Even George's buddies (Paul Dooley and James McEachin) are intrigued with Arnold, especially when they see a meteoric shot in the sky that surely must be Arnold's departing ship.

Since Arnold was always grumbling about traffic and no parking, the pals decide to build him a landing pad.

Well, word sneaks out about these crazy guys and the media have a great time with these zany folk in Grovers Mill. The town tries to talk George out of this silliness.

Ah, but what would happen if Arnold turns up in his identified flying object. . . ?

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