Hallmark Hall of Fame's latest presentation is a light-hearted comedy titled The Makeover... The plot of this bit of fluff is a takeoff on George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion, but this time the roles are reversed. Higgins is a professorial female who is responsible for refining and redefining a man who is a little bit scruffy and not very polished. As the makeover progresses a bit of love seems to slip into the equation, which adds to the enjoyment of the story.
Professor Hannah Higgins (Julia Stiles) lives in Boston and as the show opens is the loser in a Congressional race. Polls show that the electorate considers her too stuffy and prim. Although she is offended and discouraged she just throws herself back into her educational projects with her business partner Colleen Pickering (Camryn Manheim).
When through a fluke of fate the seat opens up once again, Hannah decides not to run, but does decide to select a candidate she thinks can win. The person she picks is beer vendor Elliot Doolittle (David Walton). Despite his heavy Boston accent and his bushy haired appearance, Hannah sees the spark of a gentleman inside. She knows that she and Colleen can clean him up, dress him up, and get rid of that accent, which they do.
Seeing all this happen is a lot of fun. Stiles is the perfect actress to play the oh too prim and proper Hannah. She seems to radiate reservedness while still being appealing in a most sedate way. Opposite her, Walton is a hunk with heart. Elliott loses his beard and his accent but he never loses his compassion. Walton makes sure this good heartedness stays the key to Elliott's character.
Manheim strikes just the right balancing act as Colleen. She is the bridge between Hannah and Elliott and she makes all the right moves and stays loyal to both. This is a good role for Manheim and she plays it for all it is worth. Like Walton, she makes sure the heart of her character is front and center.
In much smaller roles Francis Fisher delivers some broad comedy moments as Elliott's mother. She is a little over the top but still enjoyable. Georgia Lyman is more subdued as Elliott's widowed sister. These two women serve the purpose of filling out Elliott's background.
In the past Hallmark Hall of Fame has delivered some highly regarded dramas. This time out they have decided to just go with an entertaining movie that should please most audiences yet not tax their minds or emotions too much.
Stiles and Walton aren't Harrison and Hepburn but they do keep you interested in their transformational story from start to finish.
The Makeover airs Sunday, January 27 at 9PM on ABC.
Jackie K Cooper