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Predictable 'Tempted' is not hard to resist

March 10, 2003|Samantha Bonar | Times Staff Writer

If "Tempted" were a Victorian dime novel instead of a TV movie (9 p.m., Lifetime), the chapter headings would go something like this:

"An Unexpected Death!"

"A Long Journey to a Strange Land!"

"Some Shocking News!"

"The Farm's in Trouble!"

"This Gent Is Big Trouble!"

"Her Marriage Is in Trouble!"

"The Children Are in Trouble!"

"A Fateful Decision!"

Our heroine is one Emma Burke (Virginia Madsen), a frazzled Boston paralegal with an insensitive husband, smarty-pants son and surly teenage daughter. When Lily, the Hawaiian woman who raised her, dies suddenly, Emma fulfills Lily's last request: She returns her ashes to Kauai for burial.

The Hawaiian island has more than a few surprises in store for Emma. Some turn her past upside down and some could change her future. The former involve an angry older woman named Julia (Lainie Kazan); the latter, a stud named Kala (Jason Momoa).

Just when things are getting interesting, Emma's family shows up unexpectedly from Boston. Talk about your monkey wrench!

Everything that happens in "Tempted" is as predictable as aloha and leis, but I enjoyed Emma's brief moment of freedom and frolic with hunky Kala before she got back on the straight-and-narrow path. A woman's awakening on Lifetime apparently can only go so far before it gets redirected onto its "proper" course. Rats.

In the end, Emma must choose between life on a Hawaiian flower farm with its resident stud or home in Boston with a boorish hubby and bratty kids. What oh what will our heroine do? Sigh.

To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, I myself can resist anything but temptation. (Can one legally fax divorce papers to Boston, I wonder?) I find it all too easy, however, to resist "Tempted."

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