Picks and Pans Review: Macshayne: Winner Takes All

updated 02/14/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/14/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

NBC (Fri., Feb. 11, 9 p.m. ET)


You have to hand it to Kenny Rogers: he knows how to pick roles so flashy they go a long way toward disguising an acting style blander than collage cheese. Why, his scripts practically act themselves!

Here he's the titular hero: a Vegas knockabout and compulsive gambler who through a spectacularly implausible set of circumstances becomes a casino security specialist. Yes, it's the old fox-in-the-henhouse setup.

This is one of NBC's "mystery franchises," a sporadic film series designed to emulate the durable, can't-miss success of ABC's Columbo property. In his MacShayne debut, Kenny gets tangled up with a con woman (Ann Jillian) from Chicago. Hard to believe she's a success in her chosen field: When we first meet Jillian she's engaged in an enormously dangerous, time-intensive scam that yields only $2,000. Who knew crime paid so little? Ho-hum. As the movie's criminal mastermind (Terry O'Quinn) recruits his henchmen, he promises, "No guns, no masks, no bad dialogue.'' Well, anyway, no masks.

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