From Saban Entertainment, the company that brought you “The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers,” (and now co-owner of the Fox Family Channel), comes this vidpic that fits in snugly with the company’s live-action cartoon strengths. “The Cowboy and the Movie Star” is so awful that it almost appears to have been made that way on purpose. Lacking even the sense of irony that would render the telepic semi-watchable, it is a stupefying mosaic of camp implausibility and absurd situations. Only the bravest will survive the full two hours.
On her way to the rural location of her next film, pampered starlet Sean Livingston (played with utter sincerity by Sean Young) swerves to avoid a cow and crashes off a deserted road.
She regains consciousness to find a down-on-his-luck cowboy, Clint Brannan (Perry King), hovering on his horse. City-gal Sean naturally demands Mr. Hayseed drive her into town. But no-can-do. Clint, you see, has one last cattle drive to complete before his princess-y wife (Rochelle Swanson) takes half of everything he owns, including his beloved ranch, in a messy divorce.
This is his last shot to rustle the livestock. Now, it seems, he’s gonna have company: a world-famous actress. Worse, he’s never seen a single one of her movies!
“Lonesome Dove,” it ain’t.
Naturally, Sean is the ultimate reluctant cowhand, and Clint a contemptuous one. They fight like bobcats and prairie dogs. And sure as shoelaces, they forge a grudging truce and the sexual sparks begin to fly (especially after he saves her from an angry bear and she nurses him back to health).
The opposites-attract story is as painfully formulaic as we would expect. But that isn’t what sends “The Cowboy and the Movie Star” into a dense fog in Michael Petryni and Rob Gilmer’s teleplay. What’s worse is the pesky little unexplained phenomena: Why Sean has so few worries about arriving in time on the set for a film role she greatly covets; why Sean’s car accident produces no bumps or bruises, yet as soon as she jumps up on a horse for a few hours her legs are suddenly paralyzed from the experience? This movie doesn’t need a script doctor, it needs a team of trauma surgeons.
Young traipses through the telefilm as if in a daze herself, shifting awkwardly between tired/cranky and coquettish/flirty under Mark Griffith’s scattershot direction. King is ever the sincere clod, doing his best to turn this mess into something believably human. But he can’t.
Even the kids will be recoiling in horror by the end, convinced that the Power Rangers won’t be arriving to save the day after all. And they don’t.