Picks and Pans Review: Incident in a Small Town

updated 01/24/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/24/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

CBS (Sun., Jan. 23, 9 p.m. ET)

C+

In this lethargic letdown set in 1953, Walter Matthau and Harry Morgan return for the third time as Harmon Cobb and Stoddard Bell, a couple of crusty legal warhorses.

This time the story revolves around Morgan's estranged daughter (Stephanie Zimbalist), who has an illegitimate 13-year-old (Nick Stahl of The Man Without a Face). Suddenly the boy's father (David Erman) resurfaces in Zimbalist's Illinois town, upsetting her mightily.

Before you know it, Morgan is charged with murder and Matthau is conducting a defense with one hand lied behind his back, due to his client's reluctance to divulge some pertinent facts. Homely and homilistic, the film is full of obvious plot twists and suspiciously quaint language. When it is recommended that someone get professional counseling, a judge responds, "You mean a noggin doctor? That kind of hoo-ha?"

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