Pitch a tent, folks — it’s time for camp. As one would expect from a made-for derived from a Jackie Collins’ novel, “Hollywood Wives: The Next Generation” is all about big hair, big diamonds and big messes caused by people with a surfeit of money and a shortage of common sense. Trashy but not totally repellent, it’s a guilty pleasure watching Farrah Fawcett and Melissa Gilbert vamp through roles that could have been downright painful to watch if not played with a sense of humor.
Fawcett visited this territory in the 1987 made-for “Poor Little Rich Girl: The Barbara Hutton Story.” Her character here, Lissa Roman, is a hugely popular recording artist now crossing over to perfs in romantic comedies.
Lissa’s layabout of a husband keeps borrowing money from her (“I just gave you $10,000 last week!”) and her daughter (Pascale Hutton) is about to get married — which only serves to remind Lissa that she’s old enough to have a daughter who’s getting married.
Fawcett has a blast with the role and makes the wise choice of not playing it straight all the time. There’s a glimmer of “Oh my God, check out the ice I get to wear in this scene!” — even when her character is going through various traumas.
Gilbert’s Taylor is the most sympathetic, but glam nonetheless. (Yes, that’s the SAG prexy running around in outfits that absolutely prevent the wearing of any undergarments.)
For years, Taylor has been pushing her high-powered producer husband to work on her movie. To finally get him to sign on to her project, she threatens to take a role as a — wait for it — lesbian in a drama on cable.
Robin Givens, gorgeous as ever but wasted in this role, is relegated to about five minutes of screen time in a role as Lissa’s understanding best friend and R&B diva.
Plot is implausible, of course, but amid the trappings of exorbitant wealth it hardly seems to matter. Lissa’s lifestyle of the rich and famous causes the area’s resident computer guy/psychopath to develop designs on her daughter, with predictable results.
Between estates the size of small countries guarded by armies of private security, on-call midnight masseuses and private jets, production design is well done and quite a bit of fun to watch.
The original “Hollywood Wives,” also penned by Collins, was an Aaron Spelling production and aired in 1985 on ABC as a six-hour miniseries. It was, perhaps, not one of Anthony Hopkins’ finest moments.