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.
ABC (Thurs., Feb. 3, 8 p.m. ET)
Bloopers, behind-the-scenes footage, warm memories. ABC's look back at the hit sitcom Happy Days
, which aired on the network from 1974 to '84, has everything fans could ask for in a reunion. And, alas, more.
On the whole, this get-together of Ron Howard, Henry (The Fonz) Winkler and company is a pleasant diversion, thanks to the actors' camaraderie and the irreverence of series creator Garry Marshall, who says he figured a comedy set in the '50s wouldn't show its age in reruns. The trouble with the two-hour special is too many extra innings. We hear how the cast loved softball, and we don't mind a few clips of the Happy Days
team on tour back in the day. But save those endless highlights from the reunion game—Donny Most strikes out!—for 3 a.m. on ESPN Classic.
CBS (Sun., Jan. 30, 9 p.m. ET)
It's 1944 and Livy Dunne (Felicity
's Keri Russell), a graduate student in archaeology, has heard nothing from the serviceman who left her pregnant in Denver. Her stern father sends her off into an arranged marriage with taciturn Ray Singleton (Skeet Ulrich), who owns a farm in the middle of nowhere. Hopelessly modern viewers may wish Livy would steal Ray's truck and make a break for it, but the title of this Hallmark Hall of Fame movie hints that she'll come to appreciate her husband and the quiet life.
Though the drama's pace is stubbornly slow, the lead performances are strong enough to carry it along. Unfortunately, Ordinary Days
loses focus when Livy befriends Florie (Tania Gunadi) and Rose (Gwendoline Yeo), who are part of a group of Japanese-American internees working on Ray's farm. The two sisters are interesting characters, but their story is more than this simple film can handle.
(FOX, Feb. 1, 9 p.m. ET) Brandy has a cameo in an episode about a famous jazz musician who enters the hospital thinking he's dying from ALS.
Will & Grace
(NBC, Feb. 3, 8:30 p.m. ET) One guest star is not enough. Jeff Goldblum returns as a vengeful old classmate of Karen's, while Patti LuPone plays herself.
The Greatest Commercials
(CBS, Feb. 4, 8 p.m. ET) Pat O'Brien hosts a special that pits memorable Super Bowl commercials against clever ads from around the world and lets viewers vote which are best.
Less Than Perfect
(ABC, Feb. 4, 9:30 p.m. ET) American Idol
's Paula Abdul
guest-stars as a gallery owner dating anchorman Will Butler (Eric Roberts).
Screen Actors Guild Awards (TNT, Feb. 5, 8 p.m. ET) Sideways
tops the movie list with four nominations, and the Life Achievement Award will have James Garner's name on it.
LAS VEGAS UNCUT & UNCENS0RED SEASON ONE ($59.98)
On a series where 50 percent of the appeal involves cleavage, you'd expect the uncut and uncensored DVD to up the sexual ante. It doesn't, unless you count a wet T-shirt contest and a bad joke about a Hummer. Still, Las Vegas is great fun, capturing the excitement and superficiality of the town, with a little gravitas from James Caan as casino security chief Ed Deline. Extras: Craps! Though we do learn that rights to the show's theme, Elvis's "A Little Less Conversation," cost a lot.
- Terry Kelleher,
- Larry Sutton.
A&E (Sun., Jan. 30, 8 p.m. ET)