NBC (Sun., April 29, 9 P.M. ET)
Bernadette Peters and Kevin Spacey star as disgraced evangelists Tammy Faye and Jim Bakker. Spacey gives a wonderfully tempered performance as a venal hypocrite, couching his spiraling voluptuary’s greed in piety. He has got the revivalist preacher’s delivery down cold. In the movie Bakker exhibits a strange obsession: continually dictating trivial memos into his hand-held tape recorder.
Peters’s mascaraholic Tammy is grasping and trashy, but spirited and oddly sympathetic. Richard Paul also has a marvelous turn as the Rev. Jerry Falwell.
Director Karen Arthur molds the story into obvious but wonderfully garish TV, like a corn-pone Citizen Kane. The best line comes as the couple is running into the Reagan inauguration party in 1980, with Tammy squealing, “I want to see what Nancy’s wearing.”