"American Playhouse" invariably presents teleplays full of challenge. Sometimes too much. Like "Reckless", a mostly fascinating but twisted tale that Craig Lucas adapted from his own play.
Most of the killings and craziness happen on Christmas Eves during a dozen-plus years. You're never quite sure where the story is; it's as if the plot is chasing its own tail.
It's built around happy, jabbering Rachel (Mia Farrow
, playing the innocent forever), a wife and mom of two young boys. On this snowy Christmas Eve, her husband (Tony Goldwyn
) bursts into tears and announces that he had hired a hit man to kill her this night. He says she has to get away so the killer can't get at her - and he helps her out the second-story window.
She slides down the snowy roof and into the night and a zany new life. A new life of sorts. She meets an odd couple (Scott Glenn
and Mary-Louise Parker) who don't use their real names because they're fleeing bad lives; a deadly bookkeeper (Deborah Rush); a bizarre game-show host (Giancarlo Esposito); and a deranged nun (Eileen Brennan
) who formerly drove a school bus.
Was that the same bus and the same bus driver who ran down Rachel's folks in the first place? You had to ask.
"Reckless" tends almost recklessly to defy category. It's mostly a black comedy, not the red and green of the season, and director Norman Rene and a sparkling cast have a romp with it all. That's its saving grace, the funny, falling-down creative comedy, even if it doesn't make sense.
AMERICAN PLAYHOUSE: RECKLESS
Playhouse International Pictures
Executive producer Lindsay Law
Producer Amy J. Kaufman
Director Norman Rene
Writer Craig Lucas
Director of photography Frederick Elmes
Production designer Andrew Jackness
Casting Billy Hopkins
, Suzanne Smith,
Editor Michael Berenbaum
Composer Stephen Endelman
Music supervisor Randy Poster
Cast: Mia Farrow
, Scott Glenn
, Mary-Louise Parker, Tony Goldwyn
, Stephen Dorff
, Eileen Brennan
, Giancarlo Esposito
, Debra Mont, Deborah Rush
, Juana Barrios
, Mike Heibeck
, Vee Brown
, Jack Gilpin
, William Duell
, Anthony Pagano, Joanne Krispin
, Lisa Krispin
, Mary Beth Peil
, Lindsay May
Sawyer, William Fichtner
, William Preston
, John Magill
, Zach Grenier
, Lisa Louise Langford
, Walter Bryant
, Doug Barron, Maureen Silliman
, Ron Bagden
, Nancy Marchand
, Ladd Patellis
, Pat Distefano
, Elijan Nicole Rosello, Nesbill Blasisdell
Airdate: Monday, Dec. 16, 9-11 p.m.