Picks and Pans Review: Running Mates

updated 08/14/2000 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/14/2000 01:00AM

TNT (Sun., Aug. 13, 8 p.m. ET)

There's political savvy behind this TV movie. One of the executive producers is Gerald Rafshoon, communications director in Jimmy Carter's White House. Former Carter pollster Pat Caddell gets a "consultant" credit. But the pros apparently didn't mind the script's improbable premise: Michigan Gov. James Reynolds Pryce (Tom Selleck), certain to be nominated for President at the Democratic Convention, waits until his acceptance speech to reveal his choice of a running mate. Real-life protocol calls for the nomination and oration of the vice presidential candidate before the standard-bearer addresses the convention. Governor Pryce's approach might make for more suspense, but it doesn't help this drama's credibility.

The key issue here is campaign finance reform. Will Pryce pick an honest John McCain type (Bob Gunton) for veep or yield to a big-business cabal whose sinister leader (Stephen Lang) offers him $100 million (presumably in "soft money") to tap a corrupt Texan (Bruce McGill)? Pryce appears less concerned about the possible repercussions of his sexual history, including relationships with his campaign manager (Laura Linney), a Hollywood fund-raiser (Teri Hatcher), a boozy senatorial wife (Faye Dunaway) and, lest we forget, his own spouse (Nancy Travis). He seems like a quietly effective leader in private meetings, but his big turn at the podium lacks the force to bring you to your feet.

Bottom Line: Not quite electable

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