Picks and Pans Review: A Painted House

updated 05/05/2003 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/05/2003 01:00AM

CBS (Sun., April 27, 9 p.m. ET)

It takes a while to realize that plot is not paramount in this unhurried Hallmark Hall of Fame adaptation of John Grisham's 2001 novel. Luke Chandler (Logan Lerman), a likable 10-year-old, witnesses two homicides in the course of the drama. Will he tell the authorities everything he knows? We're led to think this is a crucial question, but it turns out to be relatively unimportant.

A Painted House is more concerned with the rhythms of early-'50s life in rural Arkansas, as Luke's grandpa (Scott Glenn) and father (Robert Sean Leonard) try to squeeze a profit out of their cotton crop while the boy develops a crush on a teenage migrant worker (Audrey Marie Anderson). The family-farm tale has unpretentious appeal; the bursts of violence are only a distraction.

BOTTOM LINE: Pretty fair when it's peaceable

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