ABC’s “Judith Krantz’s Torch Song” begins and ends with Raquel Welch in bridal white. Nuff said? Krantz loves a wedding. So do her fans. And Raquel — in TV movie No. 2 this year — is on a roll. If there is a fountain of youth, Welch must bathe in it daily.
The plot — a thinly veiled excuse for wardrobe and set changes — hovers around falling superstar Paula Eastman (Welch), an actress of a certain age who prefers vodka in her Evian bottles. The whole town knows it. Her agent (a fun George Newbern) can’t buy her work. Her daughter Delphine ( Alicia Silverstone, not so fun) hates her. No wonder the supermarket press is closing in for the kill.
So, the last resort: rehab. Paula checks into Betty Ford-land, where “the queen of denial” learns to cry in front of strangers. It helps that the guy next to her in group therapy is an all-beef fireman (Jack Scalia).
Mike is his name and, yes, he is a fireman. They start dating. But the wagon can be a bumpy ride.
Paula’s weird assistant (Laura Innes) is cunningly sabotaging her boss’s life and career. And Mike’s a sensitive guy. Hollywood gossips snicker that he’s some kind of kept man. “I’d like to see him hose her down,” a wag cracks at a party. Mike gets so upset he insults Chris Connolly, the MTV movie guy on hand to make this vapid party scene seem authentic.
Michael Miller’s direction is by the book (Krantz’s) and Leonora Thuna and Janet Brownell follow their bible faithfully, allowing Welch andScalia to do what they do best. Hint: It involves lingerie.
Two words: yecch and ratings.