Picks and Pans Review: There Must Be a Pony
updated 10/06/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 10/06/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT
Think of this as a one-woman show, Elizabeth Taylor's show, and you'll be in for some moments to remember. Liz plays a grand actress whose klieg lights have burned out; she ends up in a mental ward, and by the time she's cured, her public has forgotten her. But one fan recognizes her: "You're Joan Collins, aren't you?" Liz imitates an actress imitating Joan Collins—yes, TV is the great equalizer—and obliges with an autograph. Liz breezes through a restaurant where they buzz, "She's back!" and fixes her eyelashes using her knife as a mirror—what flair. Liz pooh-poohs her son when he tries to stop her from betting on a horse: "Sweetheart, I'm not going to break into your piggy bank"—but you know she would. Liz stops her son from acting. "Believe me, baby," she growls, "it is a mean...sick...rotten...stinking racket." Liz shrugs at her hard luck: "That's the trouble with life—no score and bad lighting." And in my favorite scene, Liz out-decibels any Stanley Kowalski who ever screamed "STELLA!" when she shouts the name of her departed boyfriend—"BEN!"—and wraps herself up in a bedspread like some glamorous enchilada. What glorious hoots. But don't think of this as a movie; it's not. The script is thin. Only Liz can make chicken salad out of these chicken gizzards—and even she can fail (nobody survives lines like, "Ah, isn't life incredible! Here I was, six months ago, in a locked ward full of other people who had lost their minds"). The plot makes as much sense as most of the people in that ward would. And the rest of the cast plays ghosts of characters: Robert Wagner as Liz's boyfriend, Chad Lowe as her son, James Coco as her buddy. If you own a VCR, tape this show, then speed through it, stopping only to savor Liz's scenes. Then erase the tape.