February 21, 1994 12:00 PM

NBC (Wed., Feb. 16, 9 p.m. ET)


Ken Howard and Blair Brown are the affluent parents of three teenagers in the Cleveland area. Fed up with their oldest, a trouble-prone college dropout (Cameron Bancroft), they coerce him to enlist in the armed forces, believing the discipline will straighten him out.

To everyone’s surprise, he thrives in the Marines—that is, until a stray bullet during a training exercise leaves him a paraplegic with severe brain damage. Howard and Brown now fight ceaselessly for their son’s rehabilitation, railing against conditions in the V.A. hospitals. Finally Brown evokes the court of final appeal: TV talk shows. She threatens a Marine functionary that unless her son gets better treatment, “I’m gonna go on Oprah and Donahue and I am gonna tell the entire world what a callous and coldhearted organization the Corps is!” Zounds! From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Ricki Lake!

This dour fact-based film bites off far more than it can gnaw. Though not bad initially as a portrait of a troubled family, the movie fails badly as an inspirational tale.

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