As cute and snappy as its star, Maneater is a two-night mini- series (concluding May 31) with Scrubs’ Sarah Chalke playing a 32-year-old Los Angeles career party girl trying to pass for 28 and seeking a husband.
As Clarissa Alpert, she goes from shopping spree to manicure seemingly without a care, but there is some anxiety rocketing through her mind: ”I have an expiration date on my forehead,” she says. Sound superficial and silly? Sure, but with Chalke delivering lines tartly, and surrounded by pals Judy Greer and Marla Sokoloff, this romantic escapism glides along swiftly.
Lifetime is probably playing off the miniseries success that USA had adapting Gigi Levangie Grazer’s The Starter Wife by taking on her other best-seller. Timothy Busfield’s brisk-but-never-busy direction gives Maneater its forward momentum, even if Clarissa is occasionally saddled with lines that seem a little stale, such as ”Look at Britney and Lindsay — crazy is the new sexy.”
Levangie Grazer knows her Tinseltown subject matter, and the script by Suzanne Martin pairs up Clarissa with a dashing young producer who’s hot in both the business and sexual senses. As Aaron Mason, Philip Winchester flips his blond mane adorably, but not so’s you’d want to smack him for being smug: You can see why Clarissa is attracted to him beyond the fact that he’s rich.
Unlike a lot of women-on-the-prowl comedies, Maneater doesn’t seem desperate; it has a good heart. Chalke has a nice rapport with Maria Conchita Alonso as her wise, wisecracking mother (she calls sneaking into her daughter’s home to tidy up ”breaking and ironing”). All in all, it’s a fun lark. B