Picks and Pans Review: DC 9/11: Time of Crisis

updated 09/15/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/15/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Showtime (Sun., Sept. 7, 8 p.m. ET)

Timothy Bottoms has the acting challenge of the year in this talky docudrama about the Bush Administration's reaction to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Apparently hoping we'll forget that he played George W. as a boob in the Comedy Central series That's My Bush, Bottoms portrays the President here as tough, resolute and a whole lot smarter than his detractors might think. Making Bottoms's job even tougher, the film-makers include news footage of the real Bush, as if to remind us that the lookalike actor is only pretending. Overburdened, Bottoms fails to deliver a convincing performance.

The supporting characters—including Dick Cheney (Lawrence Pressman), Donald Rumsfeld (John Cunningham) and Condoleezza Rice (24's Penny Johnson Jerald)—have much to say in meeting after meeting, but their main task is to look impressed by Bush's strength and decisiveness.

BOTTOM LINE: Earnest plodding

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