December 09, 2002 12:00 PM

TNT (Sun., Dec. 8, 8 p.m. ET)

Has there ever been an aging, hardhearted type on screen who didn’t soften after bonding with a cute kid? This treacly, utterly predictable TV movie stars Mary Tyler Moore as Miss Lettie, owner of a small sheep farm in the South. (Moore doesn’t bother with a regional accent, maybe because this project isn’t worth the extra effort.) When her 9-year-old grandniece Travis (Holliston Coleman) shows up for an open-ended stay, Lettie is cold and mean to the girl. Even Isaiah (Charlie Robinson), the saintly farmhand, calls Lettie a “bad-tempered old woman.” Still, we keep hearing that her bitterness stems from life’s disappointments, not a congenitally evil disposition, and it couldn’t be more obvious that the taut-faced Moore is just biding her time till she can turn the film on with her smile. All she needs is for old beau Sam (a walk-through role for Burt Reynolds) to reenter her life.

BOTTOM LINE: Lettie misses

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