July 16, 2001 12:00 PM

PBS (Tues., July 17, 10 p.m. ET)

As the XFL flameout demonstrated, launching a football league is a tough job, even with the muscular support of the World Wrestling Federation. An underfunded venture in which females actually play the game in helmets and pads—not just lead cheers in sexy outfits—would seem to face even longer odds.

The Women’s Professional Football League started small and made few headlines in 1999. But filmmaker Mylene Moreno paid attention as two teams, the Minnesota Vixens and the Lake Michigan Minx, went on a six-game exhibition tour. Moreno’s mildly interesting documentary (part of the P.O.V. series) is essentially a collection of snapshots from that miniseason: Athletes hit hard but hug after the battle. Dog-tired players arrive in New York after a 20-hour bus trip. Displeased with his team’s attitude, an unreconstructed male coach says, “I don’t want to hear the labor pains…I just want to see the baby.”

Moreno captures some revealing moments, but when the clock runs out on True-Hearted Vixens, we haven’t learned enough about the lives and motivations of the two players who are her primary focus.

Bottom Line: Field goal, not a touchdown

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