Television: The Beat Goes On

ABC, Feb. 22

The problem with this empathetic if unimaginative movie, based on Sonny Bono's memoir, is that it refuses to be awful--viewers expecting camp will do better trolling VH1 for Cher videos. The story of Sonny and Cher's rise and fall, comeback and dissolution is standard-issue backstage drama, albeit one with more bobcat vests than usual. Renee Faia does a spot-on Cher, suggesting humanity beneath the tics. Jay Underwood gets Sonny's doofiness but not, one realizes in its absence, the wimpy vulnerability that made him tolerable. The revelations, then, are that Sonny's stage persona was not just one dimensional--one-and-a-half, say--and that the duo's...

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