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'Perfect Day' is an imperfect holiday film

The holiday movie, "A Perfect Day," airing at 8 p.m., 10 p.m. and midnight Monday on TNT, is a perfectly acceptable little film that is hardly anything special enough to celebrate.

It is based on the novel by Richard Paul Evans, best known for writing the best seller "The Christmas Box," which became 1995's top television movie when it aired on CBS.

Rob Lowe, who has done quite well on TV after his movie career faded, stars as Robert Harlan, an imperfect father and husband who loses his compass after traveling the road to fame.

Digging ditches after being abruptly fired by a radio station, Rob is inspired by his wife, Allyson (Paget Brewster of "Huff" and "Criminal Minds"), to write a popular novel based on her family. A sweet, caring agent, Camille (Frances Conroy of "Six Feet Under") -- which may be a contradiction in terms -- falls in love with a book that Mitch Albom might find syrupy, and publishes it.

Then Rob goes on a pompous ego trip, forgetting the importance of loyalty and the family values that inspired him. He is called on his transgressions by a mysterious stranger, Michael (Christopher Lloyd), who frequently pops up like a ghost.

With a script by Joyce Eliason, the joyless Johnson & Johnson production delivers the message of "heaven help those who get what they want." Rob is seduced by fame, enjoying every minute of his magic ride -- the guest shot on "Larry King Live," the flirtations of his sexy publicist, the TV movie deal and the book signings from adoring fans.

Unfortunately, the emotional scenes between Rob and Allyson when their marriage is falling apart and when they have their inevitable reconciliation (this is a holiday movie after all) don't always ring true. And some of Rob's vengeful, superficial behavior is understandable, even if it isn't praiseworthy.

But looking at the bright side during the holidays, at least Conroy, Brewster, Lloyd and Lowe make the cliched film watchable even if just about everything coming is predictable except a surprise revelation near the end.


Now that the Susan Banks era is abruptly over at WKBW-TV, all eyes are on who is selected to replace her on the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. weekday newscasts. The most logical choice is morning and noon anchor Joanna Pasceri, a Lockport native who has been at the station since 1993 and doesn't get anywhere near Banks' salary.

If Pasceri is the choice to sit next to Keith Radford, it will set in motion some musical chairs at the station that could find young weekend anchor Erika von Tiehl taking Pasceri's place in the morning and a new, cheap hire getting the weekend slot.



>TV Review

A Perfect Day

Review: 2 1/2 stars (out of 4)

8 p.m. Monday, TNT

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