Picks and Pans Review: Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows

updated 02/26/2001 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/26/2001 AT 01:00 AM EST

ABC (Sun.-Mon., Feb. 25-26, 9 p.m. ET)

"I don't mean to be any trouble," whimpers a late-teenage Judy Garland (Tammy Blanchard), forced to take a rest cure after collapsing on a movie set. In a couple of minutes, Judy Davis is playing a strikingly more mature Garland—complete with "I'm a star" attitude. Trouble is, this Garland is supposed to be in her early 20s, and the 45-year-old Davis looks rather odd as the girl next door in a recreation of the "Trolley Song" scene from 1944's Meet Me in St. Louis.

If you can get over the jarring transition in part one, you're likely to stay with this generally absorbing miniseries adapted from the memoir Me and My Shadows by Garland's daughter Lorna Luft. Blanchard, with a strong resemblance to the younger Garland, affectingly portrays her as the victim of a heartless mother (Marsha Mason) and an exploitative studio system. When the drama details the decline of the pill-popping, debt-plagued diva, Davis gets an extended opportunity for the jittery emoting she does so well. And Victor Garber provides solid support as Sid Luft, third of Garland's five husbands. But the upbeat closing narration rings awfully hollow.

Bottom Line: Don't judge Judy harshly

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