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TV REVIEWS : 'South Beach's' Looks Aren't Enough

June 05, 1993|HOWARD ROSENBERG

The new NBC summer series "South Beach" has lots of look, little else. The laborious oversized premiere arrives at 9 p.m. Sunday on Channels 4, 36 and 39, merging a gaggle of music video sensations--mood, mood and mood--with a Florida setting where the haute hip hang out.

Hereafter, "South Beach" will air at 9 p.m. on Tuesdays.

Despite its sensory diversions, the movie takes a lifetime establishing Kate Patrick (Yancy Butler) as an endearing thief/con artist who is forced into plying her trade for a mysterious federal agent named Roberts (John Glover). It's called stealing for your government.

Before reaching that point, you're made to endure a wisp of a plot being stretched across nearly two hours like a prisoner on a rack. Kate's brother, Andy (Rob Knepper), precedes her in Roberts' employ, playing a dangerous game when he attempts to scam some scammers out of a fortune in diamonds. Somehow, the Russian government is involved. There are good Russians and bad Russians, good criminals (like Kate) and bad criminals. People appear, they disappear. The music comes, the music goes. None of this is very compelling.

Glover is dependably menacing before his character's heart of gold intercedes. As an actress, Butler has laser eyes that could penetrate steel. As an actress, she looks terrific.

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