Picks and Pans Review: The Woman Who Loved Elvis
In Roseanne Arnold's second TV movie, following the comedy Back-field in Motion, she plays a welfare mother who has turned her house into a shrine to Elvis Presley. There are some good performances in this film, based on the 1992 novel Graced Land by Laura Kalpakian. Danielle Harris, who plays a young neighbor on Roseanne, is her daughter here. Sally Kirkland plays Roseanne's best friend, and Cynthia Gibb is a prim young welfare caseworker.
The problem lies in the stars. Roseanne has enormous trouble conveying sincerity. The tang of sarcasm clings to all her lines like the smell of grease wafting over a meal at a diner. As a result, her character, Joyce, comes across as a charlatan rather than a forgiving, bighearted woman.
Then there's the odd, if inevitable, allocating of the role of Joyce's swaggering, leather-clad husband to Tom Arnold. Here's how he's described in the book: "He stood up slowly, all six foot four, two hundred ten pounds of him.... He was the sort of man you automatically picture naked."
Love is blind. Casting shouldn't be.