Picks and Pans Review: Lace

UPDATED 02/27/1984 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 02/27/1984 at 01:00 AM EST

ABC (Sunday, Feb. 26, 8 p.m. ET)

It promises to be such magnificent TV trash. Three girls in a French finishing school—Bess (High Road to China) Armstrong, Brooke (Body Snatchers) Adams and Arielle (Pauline at the Beach) Dombasle—are too beautiful, too smart, too rich for their own good. They do everything together. They read Bess's (very) soft-porn novel together and paint their toenails together. They even lose their innocence in the same semester, with little resistance (sneers a scorned Arab prince to Brooke: "You spiteful virgin!"). There's only one thing they don't do together: learn about birth control. One of the three finds herself in the family way. Therein lies the promising plot. To protect the pregnant one, all three buddies act pregnant and, with the help of Angela Lansbury (the aunt of one of the girls), they agree to give the inconvenient baby girl to foster parents until one of the trio is rich and famous enough to claim her. All become rich and famous (Bess the foreign correspondent writes a book called Rape in a Foxhole), but "their" daughter-Phoebe (Ridgemont High) Cates—goes unclaimed; she ends up rich and famous herself...and bitter. She schemes to bring the three women together and then demands: "Which one of you bitches is my mother?" Phoebe herself plays a bitch with all too much gusto, proving her own line out of the script: "I never know what my films are about." And it turns out that the three pals aren't as interesting apart as they were together. With so much that is worth watching—the cool and classy performances of Armstrong, Adams and Dombasle; the beautiful scenery; the intriguing story line—it would have made a fantastic two-hour movie. In five hours, it's spread thin. Besides, if you're quick, you'll guess in the first hour who the real mother is. (Part two airs Monday.)

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