Piece Of Eden
Tyne Daly stars in Piece Of Eden, a wholesome tearjerker about a city slicker who returns to the family orchard in Indiana and learns the simple, homespun values of country life. With a pitch like that, it seems peculiar that Piece Of Eden (bonus points for biblical reference) escaped a Sunday-night slot on CBS, sandwiched cozily between Touched By An Angel and live, local, late-breaking news. But director John Hancock, who used his own apple orchard as a primary location, has disrupted the natural order of things and released it to the Godless multiplexes, where his corny homilies may find a decidedly chillier reception. With name actors such as Daly and a slumming Frederic Forrest filling out minor roles, the singularly unappealing Marc Grapey stars as a lecherous New York publicity agent who's called home after his father is hospitalized. Once there, he angles to inherit the orchard by pretending that he's a morally upstanding person, even going so far as to convince his temp secretary (Rebecca Harrell) to feign marriage and pregnancy. But then there's the matter of the family curse: Grapey's immigrant grandfather, portrayed in ridiculous B&W flashbacks, left Corsica when his spooked herd of sheep ran off a cliff, only to buy an arid piece of farmland on Fail Road. ("I didn't like the name of that road," he soberly narrates.) Nevertheless, John Steinbeck this isn't. A few minor wrinkles aside, Piece Of Eden plays by the rules of sentimental tripe, leaving no surprises outside the chintzy production values and the laughable dialogue. For Forrest cultists, there's a priceless scene in which he introduces a group of inmates recruited to pick apples by disclosing their crimes ("This guy murdered his mother," "This one's a pedophile," and so on), but more discerning viewers will find very little nourishment.