Picks and Pans Review: Women & Men 2

updated 08/19/1991 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/19/1991 01:00AM

HBO (Sun., Aug. 18, 9 P.M. ET)

C

Curses, foiled again. This anthology series has a solid concept—dramatizing short stories about couples by famous American authors—and impeccable talent. Why then is it so stale and ungainly? Ray Liotta and Andie MacDowell star in "A Domestic Dilemma," Carson MeCullers's tale of suburban alcoholism in the 1950s. In Irwin Shaw's "Return to Kansas City," Matt Dillon plays a 1940s boxer trying to mollify his shrewish wife, played by Kyra Sedgwick. (Kevin Rooney, Mike Tyson's former trainer, has a cameo as Dillon's corner man.) Scott Glenn and Juliette Binoche star in Henry Miller's "Mara," about an encounter between an American writer and a hard-luck Parisian prostitute.

Though this triptych is less overwrought than last year's premiere show, it is still notably lacking in emotional impact. The actors have the too-studied air of people intent on doing "important work."

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