January 30, 1989 12:00 PM

NBC (Sun., Jan. 29, 9 p.m. ET)


What gall: NBC takes a key to the plot of the revered and recently re-released The Manchurian Candidate and turns it into a dopey TV movie that is just a vehicle for two actors who want to stretch—but who only sag. Robert Urich plays a bumbling secret agent who draws his gun and then curses, “The darn bullets fell out.” Meredith Baxter Birney is a criminal who tries to sound like a mob moll but ends up sounding like Minnie Mouse. Urich gets her out of jail, à la 48 Hrs., and they’re supposed to entrap an aide to a presidential candidate in a criminal act. But things aren’t as simple as they appear. They’re simpler. At the end, that Manchurian twist does add some excitement. Unfortunately, that excitement is the product of petty theft, not grand imagination.

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