Flash back to Luke in happier days as a recent college grad with a girl and a Texas-size inheritance. But he has a serious car accident, loses the girl and is crippled.

Flash back to Luke in happier days as a recent college grad with a girl and a Texas-size inheritance. But he has a serious car accident, loses the girl and is crippled.

One of Luke’s good ol’ boy friends introduces Luke to the trashily named and trashy Laurette, and what was supposed to be a one-night stand turns into love.

Grandpop Luke Sr. (Richard Crenna) and Aunt Alice (Bonnie Bartlett) vehemently oppose the match, calling Laurette a gold-digger, but the lovers marry and shortly afterward — and this is a big surprise — the marriage sours because Laurette’s past won’t leave her alone.

Ten months pass, Luke and Laurette reconcile, but events and Laurette’s demands are too much for Luke to bear and … this is where the tragedy part of the title comes into play.

“Tragedy” strains to be sexyand hip — witness the restless camerawork that aims for urgency and intimacy but gives the whole production the look of a Dockers commercial — but the inherent shallowness of the script undercuts the actors and the thin plot. In the end, viewers won’t care whose body is burning, since the leads never develop a third dimension. “Tragedy” fails on a camp level as well, which is a real tragedy.

Leighton limns Laurette well and gives “MP” fans a character they can recognize — she doesn’t stray far from her “MP” character of Sidney, the bad girl who strains for respectability but just can’t say no.

But Hayden, although given a potentially rich character to develop, never gets to do more than moon and lust after Laurette, and Crenna is underused as the family patriarch who spends his days spouting off about family history and noblesse oblige around the family spread.

Use of ranch locations is limited although the telepic is handsomely lensed.

Fox Tuesday Night Movie in the Name of Love: A Texas Tragedy

(Tues. (12); 8- 10 p.m.; Fox)

Production

Filmed in Denton, Texas, by Westgate Prods. Executive producers, Art Harris, Gary Hoffman; producer, Chuck McLain; supervising producer, Bob Lemchen, director, Bill D'Elia; writer, Danielle Hill; camera, Jim Bagdonas; editor, Bill Johnson; production designer, Jack Marty; sound, Mace Matiosian; music, Dennis McCarthy. Cast: Laura Leighton, Richard Crenna, Michael Hayden, Bonnie Bartlett, Rebeccah Bush, Akin Babatunde, Todd Terry, David Denny, Neith Hunter, Travis Davis. The Fox Tuesday Night Movie franchise leaves biopics behind for the "inspired by true events" genre with limited success. Fans of "Melrose Place" will be drawn to the tube by the toplining of Laura Leighton, but the hip, fast pace sacrifices plot and character motivations. "Tragedy" falls short on love and tragedy. Telepic opens with a bodybeing burned -- its identity isn't revealed, although its clear that it's either star-crossed lovers Laurette (Leighton) or Luke (Michael Hayden).

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