Archive for Saturday, February 5, 2011

Tune In: Child actresses past and present meet in ‘Smooch’

February 5, 2011

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Child actresses from two generations meet in the cable romantic comedy “Smooch” (8 p.m., Hallmark). Former “ER” star Kellie Martin was well known to viewers as a juvenile performer on “Life Goes On.” She’s joined here by the remarkably poised 11-year-old actress Kiernan Shipka, known to “Mad Men” viewers as Don’s troubled and precocious little girl, Sally Draper.

Part of a steady onslaught of romantic comedies leading up to Valentine’s Day, “Smooch” offers a whimsical riff on an old fairy tale. Shipka plays the matchmaking daughter of a widowed mother (Martin). And she’s convinced she’s found mom a prince of a catch (Simon Kassianides, “Quantum of Solace”), who may have some amphibian relatives.

Normally I’m a tad concerned when actors of great promise end up in formulaic films. But given the grim nature of Sally Draper’s story, I’m happy for the young Shipka to broaden her range with some comic relief.

• Speaking of comic relief, the star of “Mike & Molly” gets a one-hour standup special “Billy Gardell: Halftime” (8 p.m., Comedy Central). The larger-than-life comic, who plays a cop but acts like a standup comic on his CBS sitcom, performs from his hometown of Pittsburgh. He offers rants and zingers about marriage, parenting, technology and the sudden, insistent presence of hand-sanitizers.

Today’s highlights

• Catch a “Top Gear” (noon, through 5 a.m., Monday, BBC America) marathon.

• The gang returns in the 2007 sequel “Shrek the Third” (8 p.m., ABC), a film welcomed by fans of the franchise but criticized for treading water and recycling gags.

• Edgar Ramirez stars in the three-part Golden Globe-winning French-American miniseries “Carlos” (7 p.m. Sundance), airing in its entirety tonight.

• A road trip gets creepy when crows force a car off a road and into a cornfield in the 2010 shocker “Husk” (8 p.m., SyFy).

• Scheduled on two episodes of “48 Hours Mystery” (CBS), murder claims a mother (8 p.m.), and a celebrity dog trainer (9 p.m.).

• Dana Carvey hosts “Saturday Night Live” (10:30 p.m., NBC), featuring musical guest Linkin Park.

Cult choice

Colin Firth appears to be the safe bet for this year’s best actor Oscar for the “King’s Speech,” an award some say he should have won for the 2009 drama “A Single Man” (8 p.m., Showtime), directed by Tom Ford and adapted from a novel by Christopher Isherwood.

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