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Prime-Time Flicks

June 23, 1996|Kevin Thomas

The Marrying Man (ABC Sunday at 9 p.m.) opens with a terrible miscalculation: We're told, just before the 1991 film lapses into flashback, that the couple (Alec Baldwin, Kim Basinger) we're about to observe ended up marrying three times. By the time the first marriage is kaput, so is the film. Two marriages later, you may feel like you don't know anything more about the couple than when you started.

Cameron Crowe's 1992 Singles (NBC Monday at 9 p.m.) is a genial, bright piffle about twentysomethings in Seattle. It captures the approach-avoidance mating dances of the first safe-sex generation and boasts a slew of crackerjack performances from Campbell Scott, Bridget Fonda, Matt Dillon and Kyra Sedgwick.

Sometimes an unpretentious TV movie comes along that treats sentimental material with such modesty and simplicity that it succeeds beyond its limitations. Such a movie is the 1994 Ride With the Wind (ABC Monday at 9 p.m.) about a washed-up, booze-drenched motorcycle racer (Craig T. Nelson) whose life is salvaged by a chance encounter with an ailing little boy and the youth's single mother (the affecting Helen Shaver). What distinguishes this familiar story, besides the unstressed direction of Bobby Roth and a low-key teleplay by Harry Grant and Nelson himself, is the shaggy honesty and charm of Nelson's floundering raceway biker.

With the 1987 Someone to Watch Over Me (KCOP Friday at 8 p.m.) director Ridley Scott again proves himself a dazzling visual stylist. He and his collaborators fashion a Gershwinesque New York of swooning urban beauty and violent jazzy undercurrents. In this 1987 romantic thriller about a handsome, married cop (Tom Berenger) who falls for the murder witness (Mimi Rogers) he's assigned to protect, romance outclasses suspense.

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