'Impact' one hail of a TV movie

Friday, March 14, 2003

If you lie to your wife, you will be punished with a storm of biblical proportions. That seems to be the lesson of the weird new TV movie "Frozen Impact" (7 p.m., PAX).

Ted McGinley stars as Dan Blanchard, an outdoorsy guy married to Christy (Linda Purl), a doctor and control-freak. She's particularly nervous about their 12-year-old Jason (Myles Jeffrey), whose liver was damaged in a rock-climbing accident some months back.

"Frozen Impact" packs a staggering number of cliches into its two hours. In addition to baseball-sized hailstones, we have a race against time to get a donor liver to a needy patient. The dialogue ("You need to tear down the emotional walls between you") never deviates from the predictable. On the positive side, the movie does show the effects of a wicked hailstorm on a used car lot. There's something to be said for that.

Tyler is that rare TV chef who actually listens to his guests and does not feel compelled to fill every silence. Emeril the Loud could learn something from Tyler's taciturnity.

This being "Law & Order" things are not as they first appear, and we learn that the boy was not the victim's real son. But that doesn't alter the fact that he quivers in terror at the sight of his father (Rob Estes), the pillar of a suburban community with a secret penchant for spousal abuse. Look for Sandra Bernhard ("King of Comedy") as defense attorney Priscilla Chaney.

Tonight's other highlights