Picks and Pans Review: Babycakes

updated 02/13/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/13/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

CBS (Tues., Feb. 14, 9 P.M. ET)

A

Babycakes is a wonderful whopper of a flick, a rare delight, an inventive surprise that falls prey to no TV cliché. Okay, so it isn't an American invention. It's an import, an American adaptation of a 1985 West German movie, Sugar baby. But at least CBS had the good sense to steal a great idea and to treat it well. Ricki Lake plays a frankly fat funeral parlor cosmetician whose lonely life changes when she sees Craig Sheffer, a handsome subway motorman. She vows to hunt and bag him. Nobody can believe it when she succeeds—not John (Cagney & Lacey) Karlen as her father nor Betty Buckley as her stepmother (the parents met in a supermarket and married there, in the produce section), not Nada Despotovich as her sniffling, allergic best friend, and not Lake herself. Babycakes accepts no easy answers or simple sentimentality. Lake doesn't get a boyfriend and suddenly lose 100 lbs. or gain wisdom; it's still not easy for a fat woman in our world. That honesty is what makes Babycakes wonderful—that, and a delightful idea, a witty script and charming performances by the entire cast, especially Lake.

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