This female Phillip Marlowe takeoff never gets off the ground, as trite writing and Cybill Shepherd's inability to carry off the hard-nosed private eye all work toward sinking this bird's feet in cement.

This female Phillip Marlowe takeoff never gets off the ground, as trite writing and Cybill Shepherd’s inability to carry off the hard-nosed private eye all work toward sinking this bird’s feet in cement.

Shepherd stars as Samantha Weathers–sometimes they call her “Stormy”–a blonde, karate-chopping Los Angeles P.I. who is hired to find the long-lost brother of handsome Italian aristocrat Gio (Robert Beltran).

He’s looking for his brother in order to settle a will dispute back in Italy.

At first it looks like a routine case, since she soon finds that the brother was killed long ago, but it turns into an imbroglio in this loose-ended story by Stephan BlomCooper, V. Phipps-Wilson and Gerald Ayres.

Getting a death certificate on this guy turns increasingly difficult as the confusion about who killed him begins to turn ugly as drug-runners and dirty politicians muscle their way into the story.

Unfortunately the momentum in this rather hackneyed adventure is sluggish at best, as the story meanders along on an unevenly paced and poorly plotted course.

Director Will Mackenzie is as much to blame as everyone else, as he fails to put an edge on any of the events.

Part of the silliness of this telefilm is Shepherd’s attempt to play Stormy like a man. The end result is some strange femme who wears a mini-skirt but crosses her legs like a guy, sticks her chewing gum under the table of an exclusive restaurant and changes her clothes behind a glass door in front of prospective clients.

The rest of the cast struggle along, with Beltran making a notable attempt as the romantic client and Charlie Schlatter getting the right spin as Stormy’s teenage computer-hack aide, a wiseacre kid who, upon their first meeting, asks, “Are you a dick?” It’s too bad that kind of irreverent humor doesn’t play throughout.

Stormy Weathers

(Mon. (4), 9-11 p.m., ABC-TV)

Production

Filmed by Haft/Nasatir and River Siren Prods. in association with Tri-Star Television. Exec producers, Cybill Shepherd, Marcia Nasatir, Steven Haft; producer, Vahan Moosekian; co-producer, Jeanne Van Cott; director, Will Mackenzie; writers, Stephan Blom-Cooper, V. Phipps-Wilson, Gerald Ayres, based on a story by Blom-Cooper, Phipps-Wilson.

Crew

Camera, Robert Draper; editor, Neil Mandelberg; production designer, Stephen Greenberg; music, David Bell.

Cast

Cast: Cybill Shepherd, Robert Beltran, Charlie Schlatter, Kurt Fuller, Diane Salinger, Roy Thinnes, Mimi Kuzyk, Kene Holliday, Philip Baker Hall, Vonetta McGee, Tony Lo Bianco, Al Fann, Ethel Ayler, Arthur Malet, Lilyan Chauvin, Zitto Kazann, Zelda Rubinstein, Jophery Brown, Dax Biagas, Judith Drake, Adele Langdon , Conan Lee, Steven Marcus.
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