Picks and Pans Review: The King of Love

updated 11/23/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/23/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

ABC (Thurs., Nov. 19, 9 p.m. ET)

C+

If this review were on TV instead of paper, you'd see me now with my head cocked like a confused puppy, my eyes rolling in glazed bewilderment and my mouth drawn up in a slight sneer. The King of Love is one strange flick. It tries hard to be different—and at that, it succeeds. Unfortunately it doesn't succeed at much else. Nick (Stingray) Mancuso plays the publisher of a glossy, fleshy magazine called Love who steals the lovely Sela Ward away from rival publisher Rip Torn. We start at the end, with Mancuso on his death bed, seeing his life flash—no, make that lurch—before his eyes. What we're supposed to see next, the network says, is "a modern-day fable of a man who espoused free love, honesty and emancipation, but ultimately became a prisoner of his own desires for power and revenge." But what we really see is just a jumble.

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