The Spider and the Fly

Not even Mel Harris, in a welcome departure as a coldblooded authoress, can salvage this yawn of a murder mystery.

With:
Cast: Mel Harris, Ted Shackelford, Peggy Lipton, Kenneth Welsh, Cynthia Belliveau, Peter Langley, Barry Flatman, E. Murphy, Laurie Landry, Matt Birman, Tony Meyler, Colm Feore, Kim Coates, Frankie R. Faison, Phillip Jarrett, Elias Zarou, Vanira Contreras, Caroline Yeager, Angela Moore, Doug O'Keeffe, Louis Taylor, Ron Small, Cheryl Macinnis, Matthew Gross, Rabbi Edward Goldfarb.

Not even Mel Harris, in a welcome departure as a coldblooded authoress, can salvage this yawn of a murder mystery.

Sleekly produced, and smoothly helmed by Michael Katleman, the result is nevertheless hollow at the center. That’s because writers Alanna Hamill and Robert Pucci have fashioned a plot that’s heavy on games but totally devoid of a human touch, let alone interesting characters.

Harris and co-star Ted Shackelford play competing mystery writers who decide to get too chummy and cerebral for their own good. Bodies start piling up, including their boorish publisher (Kenneth Welsh). But experiencing this movie is something akin to the emotional charge you get from working a crossword puzzle.

Astute tech credits and proficient thesping are layered on one-dimensional, stultifying material. But credit one knowing line: “Half the murders in this country have three-picture deals,” snaps a cynical detective.

The Spider and the Fly

(Fri. (13), 9-11 p.m., USA)

Production: Filmed in Toronto by the Haft/Nasatir Co., Heartstar Prods. Ltd. in association with Wilshire Court Prods. Executive producers, Steven Haft, Marcia Nasatir; producer, John Danylkiw; director, Michael Katleman; writers, Alanna Hamill, Robert Pucci.

Crew: Camera, Brian R.R. Hebb; editor, Alan Baumgarten; production designer, Peter Grundy; music, Richard Bellis; sound, Owen Langevin.

Cast: Cast: Mel Harris, Ted Shackelford, Peggy Lipton, Kenneth Welsh, Cynthia Belliveau, Peter Langley, Barry Flatman, E. Murphy, Laurie Landry, Matt Birman, Tony Meyler, Colm Feore, Kim Coates, Frankie R. Faison, Phillip Jarrett, Elias Zarou, Vanira Contreras, Caroline Yeager, Angela Moore, Doug O'Keeffe, Louis Taylor, Ron Small, Cheryl Macinnis, Matthew Gross, Rabbi Edward Goldfarb.

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