"Seasons of the Heart" stars Carol Burnett, George Segal and Malcolm McDowell as three star-crossed urban sophisticates in a child abandonment drama directed by Lee Grant.
With a talent roster like that, it sounds like a can't-miss movie. Unfortunately, it does miss, scattering instead of harnessing its strengths so that little in the movie jells.
The idea behind Robbyn Burger's teleplay is promising enough: A drug-addicted mother (Jill Teed) abandons her 7-year-old son into the unwelcome arms of her wealthy publisher mom (Burnett) and the woman's philandering, raffish husband (Segal).
Grant draws a natural performance from her child actor (Eric Lloyd), who mirrors the tedium and confusion of suddenly being raised by unknown grandparents who are not exactly the Cleavers. In fact, they're often at each other's throats, peeling away the ghosts from their sexually promiscuous lives--one of them a colleague of Burnett's (McDowell).
The trouble is that none of these disparate elements cohere very well and the characters are hard to root for. * "Seasons of the Heart" airs Sunday at 9 p.m. on NBC (Channels 4, 36 and 39).