Wednesday August 23 6:06 AM ET
Priestley directs OK Fox TV movie Priestley directs OK Fox TV movie

Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (Thurs. (24), 8-10 p.m., Fox)

By Laura Fries

HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - The Fox network, not exactly known for its wealth of made-for-TV originals, is raiding the vaults of 20th Century Fox B movies from the '40s and '50s and remaking them under its original film noir banner Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang. So far, the result is the mildly entertaining ``Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye,'' based on 1942's ``Moontide.''

While most remakes attempt to do better than the original, ``Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye'' remains firmly entrenched in its B-movie roots, adding the appropriate modern updates for flash.

The TV movie also marks the feature-length helming debut for actor Jason Priestley, who's directed some series episodes and the imminent theatrical documentary ``Barenaked in America.''

Nick Lea, best known to ``X-Files'' fans as Rat Boy, stars as Dustin Yarma, an arrogant and manipulative Hollywood executive who seemingly has it all.

After a particularly wild night of imbibing, Dustin wakes up on a deserted beach with no memory of the previous night's events, only to see his female companion lying dead in the sand.

A local vagrant who claims to witness the murder offers Dustin an interesting proposition. Dustin agrees to take care of the mysterious Minnow (Holt McCallany) if he'll take care of the body.

Minnow, however, has lots of demands and once he's clean and presentable, shows great skill at playing the Hollywood game. It isn't long before Minnow takes over Dustin's house, car, job and even his girlfriend Darcy (Kari Wuhrer).

The most tantalizing concept of this story is not Dustin's desperate search for the truth, but the idea that, given the opportunity, someone could live your life better than you.

With Lea confined to a limited repertoire of panicked expressions, the appeal of the film lies with McCallany. His character of the blackmailing opportunist Minnow, which treads a fine line between twisted and brilliant, is in many ways the most likable.

Wuhrer is colorful and appealing as the media-savvy Darcy, while director Priestley makes a respectable appearance as Dustin's friend Jarred.

As a director, Priestley is definitely skillful, but incorporates too many dizzying camera effects and relies heavily on quickly spliced montages to segue from one scene to another.

Although the subject matter is definitely noir, Bruce Logan brightly textured lensing defies the genre but works to illuminate the flaws beneath Dustin's pristine existence.

Many other technical credits were not yet complete for review.

Dustin Yarma .... Nick Lea

Jarred .......... Jason Priestley

Minnow .......... Holt McCallany

Darcy ........... Kari Wuhrer

Filmed in Los Angeles by Fox Television Studios. Producer, Elliot Lewis Rosenblatt; director, Jason Priestley; writer, Ozzie Cheek; camera, Bruce Logan; editor, Dorian Harris; music, David Sibley; sound, Stephen Halbert; casting Junie Lowry Johnson, Libby Goldstein, Scott Genkinger.

Reuters/Variety REUTERS