After Gerri Jensen (Lori Loughlin) divorces her husband, he becomes a deadbeat, stops paying child support and skips town.
Gerri spends her savings, returns to her parents' Wisconsin home and tries to subsist on minimum-wage jobs.
Her two kids don't have enough food, and her in-laws are horrid. The solutions are equally bleak: quit job for welfare money, keep job and get government-subsidized cheese handouts.
After months of trying to track down her ex-husband, facing smug and nasty bureaucrats all the way, Gerri reaches the end of her rope, and she becomes an inadvertent advocate for oppressed women.
It's got the right ingredients, but the movie lacks depth.
The conflict is presented somewhat formulaically, not with a lack of conviction, but with a lack of believability.
More is made about the electricity being turned off than Gerri becoming seriously ill.
One obstacle is that there is little sense of passage of time.
In an almost sublime show of bad luck, the script introduces Gerri's problems one right after the other, piling them on instead of letting them pile up.
Then, the scraping-along theme seems to disappear once Gerri begins fighting for her rights.
Loughlin's performance is fair, and sometimes her acting is a little forced.
Also, it seems the script, more than the story, dictates the character's highs and lows.
Writing rings false at times, seeming slightly out of sync with the beat of the story.
``Abandoned and Deceived'' does a good deed in presenting a social ill; unfortunately, the social responsibility overshadows the artistic one.
ABANDONED AND DECEIVED
Crystal Beach Entertainment
in association with TriStar Television
Executive producersMarilu Henner,
Ron Lieberman, Candace Farrell
Supervising prods.Janet Turner, Daniel Helfgott
Production designerPhillip Vasels
Director of photographyThomas Del Ruth
Cast: Lori Loughlin, Gordon Clapp, Brian Kerwin, Farrah Forke, Eric Lloyd, Tyler Malinger
Airdate: Monday, March 20, 9-11 p.m.
(c)The Hollywood Reporter