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Prime-Time Flicks

January 30, 1994|Chris Willman

Whatever happened to the old-fashioned genteel heel? Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (ABC Sunday at 9 p.m.) has two of them in Michael Caine and Steve Martin, playing competing double-cross artists who respectively represent the debonair and the crass at their heights. What they're competing for is heiress Glenne Headly's fortune. The 1988 comedy represents an honorable attempt at finding farcical fun in the dishonorable, with locations along the French Riviera providing diversion enough for anyone unwilling to succumb to the movie's amusing enough cons.

Also released that same year, Working Girl (KTTV Monday at 7:30 p.m.) provided Melanie Griffith her stardom and audiences plenty of wish-fulfillment. Griffith graduates from overly accented secretary to a genius of an ersatz executive while the boss is away. Honesty isn't the movie's strong suit, any more than it's hers. But with Griffith in her defining role, and Harrison Ford and Sigourney Weaver not afraid to stoop to support parts to shine, you'd almost have to be an avowed enemy of the proletariat not to give in.

Opening up to The Doors (KTLA Monday at 8 p.m.), meanwhile, is almost unimaginable, even if--or maybe especially if--you're a fan of the title band. This pretentious rock biopic is full of inadvertent comedy, from the scenes where we watch the band magically creating "Light My Fire" to the recurring visions where Jim Morrison is forewarned of his doom by the infamous naked Indian. Val Kilmer does his best as the usually blitzed, perpetually smug singer, but can't save Oliver Stone from making his worst mess.

Midnight Run (KTLA Tuesday at 8 p.m.) has nothing on its mind other than being a wry, cat-and-mouse road movie. Robert De Niro makes an unlikely good guy as the slovenly bail-bondsman protagonist, but his weird chemistry with his elusive, handcuffed charge, Charles Grodin, adds up to good fun.

The premise of The Tender Trap (KTLA Wednesday at 8 p.m.) couldn't be more dated: Frank Sinatra is a swingin' single who finds himself "trapped" into being tied down to one gal, Debbie Reynolds. Within that hoary and sexist context, though, the writing is urbane and snappy, and the performances spirited--so just keep repeating, It's only a period piece . (Get the letterboxed laser disc if you can, though. The cropping of the wide-screen image for TV cheats you out of a lot of Sinatra's incredibly spacious Manhattan bachelor pad.)

The week winds up with a Dan Aykroyd film festival that probably even Aykroyd himself would just as soon miss. The Great Outdoors (KTLA Friday at 8 p.m.) pairs him with John Candy in one of John Hughes' least-greatest scripts. The Blues Brothers (KTLA Saturday at 6 p.m.), with John Belushi, isn't quite as bad as its rep, but even director John Landis admits its miscalculation. And the charms of the movie parody version of Dragnet (KTLA Saturday at 8 p.m.), with Tom Hanks, pretty much begin and end with the casting; the second half gets really torturous.

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