Review: ‘Dancing with Danger’

Cheryl Ladd and Ed Marinaro hook up in USA Network's "Dancing With Danger" to provide a TV telling of "Basic Instinct," where a scissor-wielding psycho is cutting up people who are so closely associated with Ladd's character, you figure the killer's got to be her.

Cheryl Ladd and Ed Marinaro hook up in USA Network’s “Dancing With Danger” to provide a TV telling of “Basic Instinct,” where a scissor-wielding psycho is cutting up people who are so closely associated with Ladd’s character, you figure the killer’s got to be her. That premise and the pairing of Ladd and Marinaro offer a spicy option to the bland Friday night lineup.

Portland, Ore., serves as a picturesque setting for this cat-and-mouse whodunit, as Mary Dannon (Ladd) arrives, with a shadowy past, from Atlantic City.

In comes gumshoe Derek Lidor (Marinaro), who is hired by Dannon’s alleged husband to find her.

The supposed husband turns up dead via a mean slice to his neck.

Lidor, irritated he’s been set up, pursues Dannon and eventually becomes romantically and professionally involved.

Lidor, though, carries a big chip on his shoulder, which Marinaro milks to the max.

Likewise, Dannon’s past creeps back into her life, and her innocence becomes more and more clouded.

Best aspect of Elisa Bell’s script is the apparent obviousness that Ladd’s character is TV’s answer to Lorena Bobbitt.

The she-had-to-have-done-it whodunit works well.

Director Stuart Cooper and producer Christopher Griffin make a noble attempt at reviving film noir, although Frank Byers’ camera work is colorful and bright, at odds with the genre’s usual look.

The vidpic’s one true fault is a generally weak supporting cast, among which only Miguel Sandoval stands out.

“Danger” gets hung up dancing a bit much — Dannon works as a taxi dancer — but the plot and action are intense enough for telepic to cut a mean rug.

Dancing with Danger

Fri. (22), 9-11 p.m., USA


Filmed in Portland, Ore., by Fast Track Films in association with Wilshire Court Prods. and USA Network. Producer, Christopher Griffin; director, Stuart Cooper; writer, Elisa Bell.


Camera, Frank Byers; editor, Cari Coughlin; production designer, Gary Constable; sound, Earl Stien; music, David Michael Frank.


Cast: Cheryl Ladd, Ed Marinaro, Miguel Sandoval, Pat Skipper, Stanley Kamel, Ellen Dolan, Katherine Olsen, Wally Dalton, Evan MacKenzie, Marianne Doherty, Lynn Tulaine, Linda Mikels, Galen Schrick, Jefferson Maxwell, Robert MacDougall, Nick Danger, Russ Fast, Mickey Gaines, Sam Cooper, Tod Thawley, Michele Mariana, Sharon Mitchell, Victor Kepler, Davin Sweeney.
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