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TV Reviews : 'Pair of Aces' Lacks Wit; Folds Early

April 09, 1991|CHRIS WILLMAN

How much you enjoy "Another Pair of Aces: Three of a Kind" (as confusedly titled a TV movie as ever there was) will depend solely on how susceptible you are to the chemistry, real or imagined, of stars Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson, who almost lend it the illusion of wit.

Beyond that, this "contemporary Western"--so-called in the network publicity, one guesses, because it's set in Austin--offers torpid mystery plotting, a nearly nekkid Joan Severance and not much else. (It airs tonight at 9 on Channels 2 and 8.)

This buddy-picture sequel to last year's "Pair of Aces" again features Kristofferson as a Texas Ranger and Nelson as a sly safecracker. The easy interplay of these two is fun in moments, though it may be stretching to call what they're doing acting. But as a good ol' boy whose wits aren't always about him, Rip Torn--who usually specializes in wily characters who know more than they let on--has never been more wasted.

In the great tradition of gorgeous women cast as savvy FBI agents, Severance is completely unbelievable. But this one-time Playboy cover girl does get to show off her heretofore underappreciated back in a sex scene with Kristofferson that's steamy even by modern relaxed network standards--scored with a Shelby Lynne country ballad, no less.

The perfunctory plot has Torn, a retired Ranger, being set up by a secret organization of far-right vigilantes. Since he showed up at the scene of the crime with the intention of perpetrating one of the murders he's being framed for, it's hard to sympathize with his plight, something writer Rob Gilmer and director Bill Bixby may not have considered.

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