Picks and Pans Review: Copacabana

updated 12/02/1985 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/02/1985 AT 01:00 AM EST

CBS (Tues., Dec. 3, 9 p.m. ET)

A-

What a set of prejudices I brought to this week's schedule: on flag-waving, PBS and Yoko Ono. Now Barry Manilow. I was prepared to gag on his TV acting debut in a movie that features his music, his voice, his face. But, surprise: I liked it. Copa is a sweet but not too sappy old-fashioned movie based on the story told in the song of the same name: "Her name was Lola. She was a showgirl...." That's Annette (48 HRS.) O'Toole. "While she tried to be a star, Tony always tended bar." That's Barry, as the barkeep turned lounge singer who falls for Lola and rescues her from a louse named Rico. Copa is a throwback, of course. But it also represents a daring step forward—an effort to create an original musical for TV. The effort pays off, thanks to Manilow's original songs and his engaging ways. Yes, Barry charmed me. Even me.

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