Picks and Pans Review: Poor Little Rich Girl: the Barbara Hutton Story

updated 11/16/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/16/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

NBC (Mon., Nov. 16, 9 p.m. ET)


What the stock market did to itself on Bloody Monday, Farrah Fawcett does to herself here. Her value as an actress soared after The Burning Bed and Extremities. Now comes the crash in Poor Little Rich Girl, a two-night miniseries of miseries about Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton. It's not fully Farrah's fault. She's stuck playing an utterly unsympathetic character who once was worth tens of millions of dollars but now isn't worth five hours of TV. All she does is party, party, party, spend, spend, spend and whine, whine, whine. She meets men, marries them, quickly grows to hate them, gets ripped off by most of them and divorces all of them. Through her eyes we see the Depression, the labor movement, Nazi tyranny and most of the 20th century trivialized as the petty nuisances of a rich lady. No actress, no matter how talented, could make the Hutton presented here worthy of our attention. The script does most of the damage; it's jumbled and stilted. The supporting players are just as bad; I've seen Vegas lounge lizards do better imitations of Cary Grant than James Read does here. But the real villains in this story are Farrah's makeup people, who should go back to painting houses or Tammy Faye Bakker. At the end, when she is old and dying, Fawcett once again relies on what has become her acting gimmick: She looks like the slums of hell, even worse than she did in Burning Bed or Extremities, with more clay wrinkles than a Dancing Raisin. Fawcett should have more faith in her talent. If she keeps making herself look awful when she acts, she's going to be left with only one part to play: Godzilla.

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