Picks and Pans Review: My Sergei

UPDATED 02/02/1998 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 02/02/1998 at 01:00 AM EST

CBS (Wed., Feb. 4, 8 p.m. ET)

C

When they skated together, Ekaterina Gordeeva and her late husband, Sergei Grinkov, were poetry in motion. This pre-Olympic tearjerker, described by CBS as a "docudrama," is poetic only when the principals are in motion—in clips of their great performances, including gold-medal efforts in the 1988 and 1994 Winter Games. The rest of My Sergei (based on Gordeeva's bestseller of the same title) consists mostly of interviews with Gordeeva and friends of the couple's, supplemented by phony scenes of the 26-year-old widow at a writing table (supposedly composing a memoir for the benefit of her 5-year-old daughter, Daria), a few needless reenactments of Gordeeva and Grinkov's private moments (with lookalike actors usually shot at a distance) and a cloying third-person narration delivered by actor David Leary ("Katia and Sergei open yet another chapter in their storybook life..."). Gordeeva is lovely, brave and winning, and Grinkov's 1995 death from a heart attack (he would have turned 31 on this film's air date) is a tragedy almost beyond words. With the 1998 Winter Olympics starting Feb. 7, perhaps it's best to remember him by his eloquent movements on the ice.

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