Picks and Pans Review: The Christmas Wife

updated 12/12/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/12/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

HBO (Mon., Dec. 12, 8 p.m. ET)

D+

Just because this show is directed by someone who directed a Harold Pinter movie—David (Betrayal) Jones—HBO must have thought it would be almost as good as having a real Harold Pinter movie. The Christmas Wife looks and sounds like a Pinter, all right, but it doesn't say as much as a Pinter. It's Pinter Jr. Jason Robards plays a widowed, retired architect whose family deserts him on Christmas, so he hires a stranger, Julie Harris, to join him for the holiday. Surprise, surprise, it's an awkward situation, which is an excuse to fill scenes with stiff, stuffy, slow, stilted and stultifying dialogue. Pinter, Shminter, it's just plain dull.

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