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I Can Make You Love Me: The Stalking of Laura Black

Formulaic drama based on the true story of Richard Farley (Richard Thomas), who stalked co-worker Laura Black (Brooke Shields), combines woman-in-jeopardy and mass-killer genres into a predictable and often gruesome concoction that has little to offer other than gratuitous violence.

With:
Cast: Richard Thomas, Brooke Shields, Viveka Davis, William Allen Young, Richard Yniguez, Scott Bryce, Linda Emond, T. Max Graham, Kevin Brief, Tim Snay, Annette John, David Snell, Jeff Hopkins, Dick Mueller, Donna Thomason, Mark McCarthy, Merle Moores, Caroline Vinciguerra, Dean Vivian, Connie Ventress, Carmen Rupe, Hollis McCarthy, Ken Boehr, John Durbin, Barbara Houston, Ben Stephenson, C. Andrew Garrison, Buck Baker.

Formulaic drama based on the true story of Richard Farley (Richard Thomas), who stalked co-worker Laura Black (Brooke Shields), combines woman-in-jeopardy and mass-killer genres into a predictable and often gruesome concoction that has little to offer other than gratuitous violence.

When Black graduates from college and gets her dream job as a design engineer in Silicon Valley, she appears headed for a promising and fulfilling career.

However, from the first day on the job, Laura’s dream becomes a nightmare when she meets Farley, who is instantly fascinated by her.

Laura declines to go out with Farley, who follows her to restaurants, softball games, aerobics classes and even to her new apartment.

Laura goes to her superiors, who have little sympathy for the complaints of a new employee about one of their longtime, trusted workers. However, when Farley’s behavior turns bizarre and he refuses the company’s request to go for counseling, he is finally fired.

Farley quickly lands another job and begins plotting his revenge on Laura and on his former company.

Shields is largely unconvincing as the woman in jeopardy, even in some of her most potentially terrifying moments. Thomas is somewhat better, thankfully choosing to play Farley as a charming, regular guy with a homicidal problem rather than as a drooling monster.

While director Michael Switzer and writer Frank Abatemarco successfully connect the dots in this by-the-numbers picture, the problem ultimately is the crazed killer/woman-in-jeopardy form that has not only been mined to death, but is also growing increasingly mindless and offensive.

Although Shields touts a toll-free number for victims’ rights at the end, and there is a footnote on the passage of California’s anti-stalking law, the film presents virtually no discussion of this serious issue and ends up being an empty exercise in violence.

I Can Make You Love Me: The Stalking of Laura Black

(Tues. (9), 9-11 p.m., CBS)

Production: Filmed in Topeka, Kan., by Joel Fields Prods., Frank Abatemarco Prods. in association with Leonard Hill Films. Executive producers, Frank Abatemarco, Ron Gilbert, Leonard Hill, Joel Fields; co-producers, Ardythe Goergens, Bernadette Caulfield; director, Michael Switzer.

Crew: Camera, Rob Draper; editor, Mark Rosenbaum; production designer, Jonathan Carlson; sound, Jay Patterson; music, Sylvester Levay.

Cast: Cast: Richard Thomas, Brooke Shields, Viveka Davis, William Allen Young, Richard Yniguez, Scott Bryce, Linda Emond, T. Max Graham, Kevin Brief, Tim Snay, Annette John, David Snell, Jeff Hopkins, Dick Mueller, Donna Thomason, Mark McCarthy, Merle Moores, Caroline Vinciguerra, Dean Vivian, Connie Ventress, Carmen Rupe, Hollis McCarthy, Ken Boehr, John Durbin, Barbara Houston, Ben Stephenson, C. Andrew Garrison, Buck Baker.

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