Inept 'Ladykillers' Just a Male Flesh Parade

The title "Ladykillers" has three meanings. It's the name of a male strip club a la Chippendale's, and it refers to the strippers who work there. It also means the woman or women murdering the strippers.

This triple-entendre is about as layered and subtle as this ABC movie gets (tonight at 9 on Channels 7, 3, 10 and 42). Generally, it's inept as a mystery and not much better as a romance.

The romance is between a police lieutenant (Marilu Henner) and a younger colleague (Thomas Calabro) who's assigned to investigate the murders with her. Not surprisingly, Calabro is such a hunk that he's selected to go under cover (in more ways than one) as a stripper at the club. And before you can say "jockstrap," he's the star of the "Ladykillers" show.

Gritty realism this isn't.

Lesley-Anne Down (whose career has been going downstairs ever since "Upstairs, Downstairs") sashays around the screen as Morganna King, owner of the club. Susan Blakely appears as the club's man-hungry marketing director, who becomes one of the primary suspects, thanks to some hopelessly bungled sleuthing by Henner's character.

Greg Dinallo's script isn't much more than an excuse for a male flesh parade; a similar display of female strippers might be considered retrograde even by commercial television standards.

Robert Lewis directed for Barry Weitz Films, in association with ABC Circle Films.

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