Fox Family Channel’s wholesome image has apparently taken a summer vacation. There’s no other way to explain “Don’t Look Behind You,” an inappropriate made-for that might make mom and dad reconsider their tots’ channel selections.Parents expecting a solid drama about good-looking people in peril will be quite stunned when the bullets and bodies start flying, and, dramatically speaking, they’ll also wince at its entertainment value. Based on the book by Lois Duncan, “Look” kicks off the cable web’s “Midsummer Night’s Scream” week but doesn’t fit the bill in that respect, either. Thrill-free and poorly constructed, any sense of excitement is minimized whenever co-stars Patrick Duffy and Pam Dawber (yes, they’re still acting) open their mouths; the teleplay from Tony Morphett and Bart Baker is full of words that real people don’t say in situations that don’t exist. It sure doesn’t help that we’re asked to take giant leaps of faith at every turn; plot takes us from suburbia to the Witness Protection Program in a matter of days. Jeff Corrigan is a dutiful financial topper of an international conglom but knows too many secrets: His boss, Eric Loftin (Dominic Raacke), has been using the books to hide illegal activities, relying on Jeff to keep everything quiet. But that’s about to change. Fitted with a wire and carrying a disc full of evidence, Jeff leaves the office one afternoon prepared to ruin Loftin with the FBI’s assistance. Led by agent Ellie Foster (Anne Marie Loder), the law enforcement team moves in and arrests Loftin, but not before he threatens Jeff’s estranged family. Foster immediately secures wife Liz (Dawber), daughter April (Tanja Reichert) and son Bram (David Kaye), keeping them secluded without any outside contact. This all comes as a surprise to the bunch since Jeff never told them he had been working in cahoots with the FBI. Loftin escapes, and, along with his dastardly colleagues, spends his energy on finding the Corrigans and wiping them out. The victims move from hotel to hotel until they are eventually placed in a relocation program, forced to become one big happy unit while assuming a new identity. Climax comes when April, who’ll do anything to see her dreamy boyfriend again, runs away and risks everyone’s safety. Forced to emerge in order to save her, Jeff confronts Loftin in a final showdown. As if “Look’s” dopey narrative weren’t enough to turn us off, there’s so much cheaply staged violence that it’s hard to pick the project’s most offensive feature: the storytelling or the insensitivity. Director David Winning creates a warm and fuzzy subplot in which everyone gets to bond, but his backdrop is chock full of corpses. Maybe this could have been a high-profile network telepic, but, as executed here, “Look” misses almost every mark. On the performance front, Duffy and Dawber are too limited in both range and expression to muster up any emotion, and nobody in the supporting cast does very much. Granted, the material isn’t top-notch, but the effort doesn’t seem to be there, either. Tech credits aren’t embarrassing but do little to evoke any kind of atmosphere or reality.
Fox Family Channel; Sun. July 25, 8 p.m.
Filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia, by Fox Family Channel in association with ZDF Enterprises and Shavick Ent. Executive producers, Lance H. Robbins, James Shavick, Effi Mueller; producers, Shawn Williamson, Roseanne Milliken; director, David Winning; writers, Tony Morphett, Bart Baker, based on Lois Duncan's novel.
Jeff Corrigan - Patrick Duffy Liz Corrigan - Pam Dawber Eric Loftin - Dominic Raacke Ellie Foster - Anne Marie Loder George Reeder - Blu Mankuma April Corrigan - Tanja Reichert Bram Corrigan - David Kaye Stefan Masters - Ryan Northcott
Data provided by:Nielsen Media Research (Preliminary Results)