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Prime-Time Flicks

June 20, 1993|Michael Wilmington

Parenthood (CBS Sunday at 8:30 p.m.), a likable 1989 family comedy by Ron Howard, has a slickly amusing Lowell Ganz-Babaloo Mandel script. It boasts a formidable ensemble: Steve Martin as the beleaguered central dad, Mary Steenburgen, Dianne Wiest, Jason Robards. Together, they summon up Norman Rockwellian charm and contemporary acid.

In Blind Witness (ABC Sunday at 9 p.m.), blind screenwriter Tom Sullivan uses crime melodrama to point up discrimination against the sightless: A decent, unexciting 1989 message picture, with Victoria Principal and Paul Le Mat.

The Babe (KTTV Monday at 8 p.m.), a 1992 Arthur Hiller-John Fusco movie, misses the essence of its subject: home-run prodigy Babe Ruth. John Goodman is a good Bambino, but watching this movie, with its careful period decor, sincere direction and sanitized script, is like catching a game where the players are always bunted from base to base.

Dead-Bang (ABC Monday at 9 p.m.) is a 1989 John Frankenheimer thriller that mixes crime and politics, but is a far cry from his masterful "Manchurian Candidate." Here, Don Johnson plays a seedy L.A. private eye whose investigations lead him to a ring of extremists. The plot is wild; the developments lurid.

Places in the Heart (KTLA Wednesday at 8 p.m.) is Robert Benton's tender 1984 reminiscence of his hometown, Waxahachie, Tex., during the Depression. Oscar-winner Sally Field plays the central role perfectly; the excellent supporting cast includes John Malkovich as blind Mr. Will and Danny Glover as a hired hand who makes the cotton fields bloom.

Writer-director Jerry Belson's 1987 romantic comedy Surrender (KTLA Thursday at 8 p.m.), despite the cheering presence of experts Sally Field and Michael Caine, makes you yearn for the days of Cukor, Lubitsch and Wilder.

American Gigolo (KCOP Friday at 8 p.m.), Paul Schrader's would-be metaphysical film noir , about a male hustler trapped in a world of betrayal, suffers from too many allusions to Bresson's great French film "Pickpocket." There's also a curious evasion: Richard Gere's hustler is not only heterosexual but homophobic. An interesting failure, with a striking surface.

Kiss Me Goodbye (KTLA Friday at 8 p.m.) is one of the stranger recent movie romances, a misfiring remake of the Brazilian hit "Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands," directed by the usually sensitive Robert Mulligan, which casts Sally Field, James Caan and Jeff Bridges, uncomfortably, as the human-ghostly triangle.

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