Picks and Pans Review: Lilac Dream

updated 05/04/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/04/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Part of the ambitious new Shades of Love series made for home video, this tape confirms the eternal truth that when romance and cynicism meet, romance will soon have to start checking itself for bruises. The very calculated series, designed to exploit the romance novel market, was given four imperatives by its masterminds at Karl-Lorimar: (1) the stories all had to be uniquely suited to women; (2) they had to feature a well-known male TV star playing opposite an unknown actress, the better to allow female viewers to identify with her; (3) the story had to be told from the woman's point of view; (4) the production quality had to be high. This 87-minute tape meets all four requirements, although No. 4 is a marginal call, so feeble is the writing and the acting by the supporting cast. The leads, Dack Rambo of Dallas and the lovely (also not too young for middle-age fantasizing purposes) Susan Almgren, are competent, especially considering that they have to ooze out such lines as, "We have to live each day as if it might be our last together." Almgren plays an advertising copywriter named Tamara (we obviously won't have many Marys or Bettys in Shades-land). She's burned out, traumatized by a canceled engagement and vacationing on an island (like the series' other tapes, this one was shot in and around Montreal). As so often happens, an incredibly handsome man washes up on her beach, stricken with amnesia and in a mood to keep walking around with his shirt off. They fall in all-out, share-the-chores love and moon about (in PG-13 fashion only) while the tension builds: Let's see the hands of those who think he will remember who he is, turn out to be happily married with nine kids and say, "It's been fun, Tamara, but I've got to get back to Hackensack and mow the lawn." Anyway, while there's more wicked fun in 10 minutes of any decent soap opera, this is harmless escape and more socially redeeming than, say, knocking over garbage cans. The other three tapes in the series so far star TV types Parker Stevenson, Simon MacCorkindale and Nicholas Campbell. Ladies, man your fantasies. (Karl-Lorimar, $14.95)

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