Blair Brown for U.S. president? It should be a shoo-in, but David Taylor’s shallow teleplay in which Brown plays supposedly dynamic Gen. Katherine Taylor, dropping her into the race against the current president (Robin Gammell), trots out all the surface ploys without missing a precinct.
Taylor, war hero after a desert war victory–that’s how timely the vidpic’s supposed to be–publicly spouting off her political feelings, is handpicked by Washington bigwig broker Simms (Donald Moffat) as a winner in the presidential race. Taylor, cottoning to the idea, says she knows nothing about campaigning; he tells her he’ll assemble a staff to steer her into the White House.
The staff, played by such stalwarts as Fran Bennett, John Glover and Tim Conlon, looks busy, and Taylor’s incredibly patient husband Paul (John Getz) and angry daughter Lucy (Jensen Daggett) continue their lives while Katherine deals with politics. People let her down, others boost her; there’s little surprise.
Attempts at other aspects of her life, such as Lucy’s affair in a motel room, make temporary splashes, but Gen. Taylor, a brave soldier, knows skirmishes pass. Her chief love is a national health bill, but she does have a secret coffee cup confab with the president of Panama over hostages from a U.S. spy boat; that’s abruptly and unconvincingly resolved.
Telefilm, pegging most of today’s issues, struggles to make Gen. Taylor’s success an intriguing statement about women in politics. Taylor’s tricks against the incumbent play as if they’re supposed to be striking coups; in fact, they’re not only amateurish but unlikely, as when she positions herself at a dinner so she can challenge the president to a debate.
Brown has her charming smile to fall back on, but it’s not enough here. Gen. Taylor’s a strong woman with high ideals, but she isn’t a convincing character. Taylor’s mentor, Simms, played well by Moffat, supplies a degree of reality to the story, and Glover as her cynical aide carves a character out of scraps.
Director Gwen Arner doesn’t help the campaign with artificial speech setups, unpersuasive scenes between the general and her husband, or phony crowds. As for Gen. Taylor, no matter what she says (or how well Brown says it for her), Taylor doesn’t come off as the real ticket.