Picks and Pans Review: Out on a Limb

updated 01/19/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/19/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

ABC (Sun., Jan. 18, 8 p.m. ET)


Actors, we must remember, are paid to read lines, wear makeup and play characters. We don't usually go to them for science, politics or philosophy; for that, we have scientists, politicians and philosophers. I like Shirley MacLaine as an actress; in Terms of Endearment she was a genius. But as a Great Thinker, I can do without her. Out on a Limb, a five-hour, two-night miniseries based on her book, is the allegedly true story of her revelations on reincarnation, out-of-body experiences, UFOs and lost Atlantis. That's what she thinks Out on a Limb is. I think Out on a Limb is simply history's most convoluted, complicated justification for an affair with a married man. MacLaine says she was drawn to matters metaphysical after she was drawn to the arms of a dashing but married Brit, played by Charles Dance. She couldn't figure out why she was so obsessed with this guy (try asking Dr. Ruth, Shirley). But after seeing various seers and talking to assorted spirits through "trance channelers" in Sweden and, of course, California, MacLaine concludes that she and the Brit were together in another life, on Atlantis, where he was an envoy to extraterrestrials. Remember: She's not joking. Between giving concerts and meeting her lover all over the world (in her current life), MacLaine goes alien-hunting in Peru with one weird would-be artist who spouts offensive philosophy like: "There aren't any victims in the world." And MacLaine comes out with lines that'll make your eyes roll 360°: "Did you ever feel that you're not seeing what you're looking at because you're not real sure about what you see in yourself?...I'm into a whole new dimension of myself.... I want to say something profound, but my mind is spinning." Enough said.

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