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Picks and Pans Review: Jackie Bouvier Kennedy Onassis

updated 11/06/2000 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/06/2000 01:00AM

CBS (Sun., Nov. 5, Wed., Nov. 8, 9 p.m. ET)

Show of the week

Joanne Whalley {Scarlett) isn't the first actress to portray Jackie O (Jaclyn Smith did it in 1981; Roma Downey in '91), and she won't be the last (Jill Hennessy gets her turn in February for NBC's Jackie, Ethel, Joan: Women of Camelot). But Whalley's Jackie may be as unglamorous as we're likely to get. Yes, there's the First Lady looking radiant in her pillbox hat and Oleg Cassini evening gowns. But there's also the wan, wrinkled Jackie, visibly ailing from the lymphoma that would claim her life in 1994, when this four-hour miniseries based on Donald Spoto's recent biography begins and ends. In between and in flashbacks, Senator Kennedy's wife sulks at home alone, while JFK (Tim Matheson, The West Wing's VP) is out womanizing; years later she tells off second husband Aristotle Onassis (Philip Baker Hall), who's been cheating on her with Maria Callas. Jackie's travails wear thin by then, and even Whalley looks exhausted in the role. The real treat is Matheson, who cannily captures Kennedy's roguish charisma. When the President dies, the life goes out of this meandering mini.

Bottom Line: Jack 1, Jackie 0

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