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Archive for Saturday, May 30, 2009

Maneater’ recycles ‘Sex and the City’

May 30, 2009

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If we all get a little dumber with each passing sequel, imitation or remake, then “Sex and the City” has made us very dumb indeed. Few shows have inspired so many cheap knockoffs, and few cheap knockoffs have been less inspired than “Maneater” (8 p.m., today and Sunday, Lifetime).

Sarah Chalke stars as the vapid Clarrisa Alpert, a full-time party fixture on the fringes of the movie business who wakes up after one too many one-night stands with the realization that maybe there’s more to life than complimentary cocktails.

She immediately reconnoiters with her spoiled pals, a quartet of dim bulbs who look like rejects from “Clueless” (not the original movie version, but the cheap ABC-to-UPN knockoff of the same). She announces poolside that she’s going to get married pronto and sets out to find the right man.

Will she snag Aaron Mason, the town’s hottest new producer, or fall back into the arms of the record producer who dumped her four years back and set on a path of self-destructive self-indulgence? And will we care?

As stories go, a tale of girl meets boy after shameless scheming is not a bad one. But to watch this one, you have to sit through witless dialogue and production values that strive to be third- rate. “Maneater” is the kind of tawdry counterfeit that gives tawdry counterfeiters a bad name. It makes “The Starter Wife” look like “The Philadelphia Story.”

• It’s not difficult to see why screenwriters love Winston Churchill. He writes so much dialogue for them. Brendan Gleeson stars as the eminently quotable prime minister in “Into The Storm” (8 p.m., Sunday, HBO).

The film covers the five years that were his “finest hour” (a line curiously absent here), from 1940 to 1945, when Churchill, armed only with his will and his furious eloquence, rallied the population of an embattled island from near-certain defeat to triumph over Hitler.

Scant weeks after V-E Day, British voters rejected Churchill’s bid for re-election and turned to a Labor government to plan the post-war world. “Storm” bounces back and forth between the crises of 1940 and the election of 1945 to show how the very qualities that made Churchill a dominating wartime leader alienated peacetime voters.

Janet McTeer stars as Churchill’s wife, Clementine, a calming influence on the old walrus who gently nudged behind the scenes to thwart his more self-destructive tendencies. At one point, she even enlists King George VI (Iain Glen) to talk Churchill out of landing at Normandy with the D-Day troops.

Today’s highlights

• A new victim expires on “Harper’s Island” (8 p.m., CBS).

Sunday’s highlights

• Scheduled on “Dateline” (6 p.m., NBC): Taylor Swift.

• “Ice Road Truckers” (8 p.m., History) barrels into its third season of thermometer-defying deliveries.

• Four modern explorers retrace the steps of the 19th-century Stanley and Livingstone saga on “Expedition Africa” (9 p.m., History).

• Walt pays a price for his secrecy on the season finale of “Breaking Bad” (9 p.m., AMC).

• “Adult Swim” presents a live-action episode of “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” (10:45 p.m., Cartoon Network).

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