February 07, 2005 12:00 PM

A&E (Sun., Jan. 30, 8 p.m. ET)


Considering his many movies, his frequent guest appearances with buddy Jay Leno and the extensive coverage of his activities as elected leader of America’s most populous state, you don’t have to look far to find Arnold Schwarzenegger on television. So a TV biopic—in which a less famous actor attempts to approximate the California Governator’s muscularity and magnetism—had better be more than a superficial story of ambition fulfilled.

Sorry, See Arnold Run fails the test. It’s okay on the surface details of pumping iron and sprinting for office, but the film’s only insight into Schwarzenegger is that his determination to succeed stems from a need to prove something to his father. (As for the dad’s Nazi Party membership, the script takes up the subject, then gently lays it aside.)

The film cuts back and forth—incessantly and often pointlessly—between Schwarzenegger’s whirlwind gubernatorial race in 2003 and the pec-flexing that gained him the Mr. Olympia title in the 1970s. German actor Jurgen Prochnow (Das Boot) doesn’t have the Ah-nuld voice down pat, but he gives the candidate a suitable combination of ego and charm. Roland Kickinger, an Austrian-born bodybuilder like Schwarzenegger, is adequate in the young Arnold role—if you don’t care that he looks nothing like Prochnow.

The film depicts Schwarzenegger’s wife, Kennedy clan member and ex-NBC News correspondent Maria Shriver (Mariel Hemingway), as a strong partner unafraid to upbraid the campaign staff. Maria says here that the Republican Arnold won her over with his “positive thinking” on their first date. Now that’s a flashback we’d really be curious to see.

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