For a ditzy romantic TV movie, XXX’s & OOO’s sure is complicated, beginning with its kisses-and-hugs title that’s a pain to type out. Set in Nashville, XXX’s, which is a test-run for a possible series, follows the lives of four women: a country-music promoter played by Susan Walters (Elvis and Me), a single mom (Nia Peeples, late of The Party Machine With Nia Peeples), a disc jockey (Andrea Parker), and a former country singer (Debrah Farentino, last seen smooching David Caruso on the NYPD Blue season-ender).
It’s a credit to creator Brandon Tartikoff, director Allan Arkush, and writers Alice Randall and John Wilder that these very disparate characters are brought together as friends of varying degrees of closeness, even though sometimes it’s hard to remember who knows who, and how well. Most of the time, XXX’s is four shows in one, as this quartet is sent off into separate subplots about their troubled lives: bad divorces, stalled careers, tricky romances, exhausting child rearing.
The result is a soap opera set to a sound track that includes treacly Trisha Yearwood and great Patsy Cline music. XXX’s makes good use of Nashville, showing us such music-biz hangouts as the Bluebird Cafe and the Pancake Pantry. The best performances come from Walters, who makes her hard-nosed, blue-blooded character an interestingly ambitious woman, and Farentino, who, just in the way she carries herself and speaks, creates a vivid portrait of a woman coping with failed dreams and middle age. But should XXX’s turn into a weekly show, I implore you, Ms. Farentino: Don’t leave NYPD! B-