Review: ‘The Secret’

The Secret (Mon. (6), 9-11 p.m., NBC) Filmed in Charlotte, N.C., by Robert Greenwald Prods. Executive producers, Robert Greenwald, Kimberly Rubin; producer , Philip Kleinbart; co-producer-writer, Rob Fresco; co-producer, Michael Stroud; director, Noel Nosseck; camera, Paul Maibuam; editor, Ron Spang; sound, Don Summer; music, Brian Adler; production designer, Derek Hill; casting, Robin Lippin; location casting, Fincannon and Associates. Cast: Ari Meyers, Soleil Moon Frye, Mark Krassenbaum. John O'Hurley, Cindy Pickett, Erika Flores, Todd Rulapaugh, Tess Harper, Rasool J'han, Sean Bridgers, Ben Epps, Lorri Lindberg, Joanna Canton, J. Michael Hunter, Derborah Hobart, Brandon Frazier, Robby Preddy , Mert Hatfield, Michael Genevie, Stephanie Allen, Frances Weller, David Hains, Carl McIntyre, Wells Struble, Josh Preiss. Writer Rob Fresco and cohorts ladle up a lackluster meller about a young man who, while squiring the high school's chief belle, impregnates Miss Other Side of the Tracks. Director Noel Nosseck and his cast get none of the grit or agony of earlier servings of similar stories, and the mostly surface acting doesn't at all help. Spunky, well-off senior Nicole (Ari Meyers), obviously popular since she leads cheers, has been dating even wealthier football hero Greg (Mark Krassenbaum), who insists he loves her. And he probably means it. What a pair! But he's been seeing economically deprived, loving Emily (Soleil Moon Frye) on the q.t. When Emily floors him with the news that she's expecting (and no abortions, thanks), he gets the wind up and apparently does her in. There's a neat twist: Because of Emily's disappearance, Nicole becomes chums with Emily's singular mom, Tina (Tess Harper, who handles her thin role with aplomb). News is out that Greg has been running off to a warehouse with the missing Emily, but he says he's innocent. When Emily emerges from the lake, all sorts of absurdities occur. A flower-shaped button figures in the case. Harper figures in a potentially powerful scene when she goes to confront Greg at the young man's home, but it goes phft. John O'Hurley admirably holds his dignity as Greg's stern father and, as mentioned, Harper pulls off a sensible-woman-grieving role with equanimity. Despite ardent attempts to create something out of the shallow characters Fresco's cooked up for them, Meyers, Frye and Krassenbaum are at a loss. It's a by-the-numbers entry someone should have warned the performers they're all appearing in a variation on a Theodore Dreiser hand-me-down. Tech credits are ample. Production designer Derek Hill catches the flavor of the regional background and the ambiance of the upper-middle class; trouble is that Fresco's script, though souped up by Brian Adler's pro score, is achingly predictable. But everyone knew his lines. Tony Scott

The Secret (Mon. (6), 9-11 p.m., NBC) Filmed in Charlotte, N.C., by Robert Greenwald Prods. Executive producers, Robert Greenwald, Kimberly Rubin; producer , Philip Kleinbart; co-producer-writer, Rob Fresco; co-producer, Michael Stroud; director, Noel Nosseck; camera, Paul Maibuam; editor, Ron Spang; sound, Don Summer; music, Brian Adler; production designer, Derek Hill; casting, Robin Lippin; location casting, Fincannon and Associates. Cast: Ari Meyers, Soleil Moon Frye, Mark Krassenbaum. John O’Hurley, Cindy Pickett, Erika Flores, Todd Rulapaugh, Tess Harper, Rasool J’han, Sean Bridgers, Ben Epps, Lorri Lindberg, Joanna Canton, J. Michael Hunter, Derborah Hobart, Brandon Frazier, Robby Preddy , Mert Hatfield, Michael Genevie, Stephanie Allen, Frances Weller, David Hains, Carl McIntyre, Wells Struble, Josh Preiss. Writer Rob Fresco and cohorts ladle up a lackluster meller about a young man who, while squiring the high school’s chief belle, impregnates Miss Other Side of the Tracks. Director Noel Nosseck and his cast get none of the grit or agony of earlier servings of similar stories, and the mostly surface acting doesn’t at all help. Spunky, well-off senior Nicole (Ari Meyers), obviously popular since she leads cheers, has been dating even wealthier football hero Greg (Mark Krassenbaum), who insists he loves her. And he probably means it. What a pair! But he’s been seeing economically deprived, loving Emily (Soleil Moon Frye) on the q.t. When Emily floors him with the news that she’s expecting (and no abortions, thanks), he gets the wind up and apparently does her in. There’s a neat twist: Because of Emily’s disappearance, Nicole becomes chums with Emily’s singular mom, Tina (Tess Harper, who handles her thin role with aplomb). News is out that Greg has been running off to a warehouse with the missing Emily, but he says he’s innocent. When Emily emerges from the lake, all sorts of absurdities occur. A flower-shaped button figures in the case. Harper figures in a potentially powerful scene when she goes to confront Greg at the young man’s home, but it goes phft. John O’Hurley admirably holds his dignity as Greg’s stern father and, as mentioned, Harper pulls off a sensible-woman-grieving role with equanimity. Despite ardent attempts to create something out of the shallow characters Fresco’s cooked up for them, Meyers, Frye and Krassenbaum are at a loss. It’s a by-the-numbers entry someone should have warned the performers they’re all appearing in a variation on a Theodore Dreiser hand-me-down. Tech credits are ample. Production designer Derek Hill catches the flavor of the regional background and the ambiance of the upper-middle class; trouble is that Fresco’s script, though souped up by Brian Adler’s pro score, is achingly predictable. But everyone knew his lines. Tony Scott

The Secret

Mon. (6), 9-11 p.m., NBC

Production

Filmed in Charlotte, N.C., by Robert Greenwald Prods. Executive producers, Robert Greenwald, Kimberly Rubin; producer, Philip Kleinbart; co-producer-writer, Rob Fresco; co-producer, Michael Stroud; director, Noel Nosseck.

Crew

Camera, Paul Maibuam; editor, Ron Spang; sound, Don Summer; music, Brian Adler; production designer, Derek Hill; casting, Robin Lippin; location casting, Fincannon and Associates.

Cast

Cast: Ari Meyers, Soleil Moon Frye, Mark Krassenbaum. John O'Hurley, Cindy Pickett, Erika Flores, Todd Rulapaugh, Tess Harper, Rasool J'han, Sean Bridgers, Ben Epps, Lorri Lindberg, Joanna Canton, J. Michael Hunter, Derborah Hobart, Brandon Frazier, Robby Preddy, Mert Hatfield, Michael Genevie, Stephanie Allen, Frances Weller, David Hains, Carl McIntyre, Wells Struble, Josh Preiss.
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