Picks and Pans Review: Foxfire

updated 12/14/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/14/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

CBS (Sun., Dec. 13, 9 p.m. ET)

C+

John Denver is always trying to act like a hillbilly. But here, in a dramatic role, the country singer gets to play a country singer, and he tries extra hard to hick it up. Just once or twice you want to harvest the hay growing between his teeth. But those scenes are quickly rescued by his co-stars, the sainted Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy. Foxfire is their show. Cronyn co-wrote the play on which it is based, and they starred in it on Broadway, where Tandy won a Tony. She plays a self-reliant old gal who lives atop a Blue Ridge mountain and still does things the old-fashioned way, like cutting up a hog's head for dinner. Cronyn is her husband, who's dead but still wanders around the mountain in Tandy's imagination. And Denver is their son, a country star who has turned his heritage into a curio, a shtik he uses to sell songs. Denver comes to visit his ma and begs her to leave the mountain and move in with him and his kids. So Tandy is forced to decide between her home and her family, between the past and the present—themes as predictable and simple as the sayings on needlepoint samplers. Tandy and Cronyn are always dear to watch, but their play is more of a dusty antique than they could ever be.

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