Starcrossed is all right if you like extraterrestrial junk

"Starcrossed,'' the new TV movie aired by ABC at 8 tonight on Channel 4, is so hopelessly, hilariously awful that it's almost worth watching. It's the kind of movie from which you're only likely to take away an idle curiosity about how the film's producers ever conned anyone into financing this dog.

The premise is perfectly acceptable _ a meeting between an extraterrestrial and a human that eventually develops into love. In fact, it is also the premise of the theatrical film "Starman,'' which recently earned good reviews. Unfortunately, good premises do not necessarily good films make. The same crew that made "Starman'' work was nowhere in evidence for "Starcrossed.''

Jeffrey Bloom wrote and directed "Starcrossed,'' and the movie wastes no time letting us know it's in trouble since it plays like a Duran Duran rock video for what seems like hours _ lots of running about, murky photography and a gratingly boom-boom-boom score.

Belinda Bauer plays the extraterrestrial who has dropped in on Earth; James Spader plays the young man who befriends her and who chatters on ceaselessly in today's approved style: ending every statement with "OK?,'' punctuated with endless repeats of "You know what I'm saying?'' and "Like, you know.'' If Bauer's character were as smart and clever as we're supposed to believe she is, she'd have gotten rid of Spader in a jiffy.

In "Starman,'' the focus was on the developing relationship between the extraterrestrial man and the Earth woman who came to know and respect and love each other through learning about each other's customs. In "Starcrossed,'' we're talking TV, so we're talking car chases, shoot-outs, explosions, menacing gunmen, bodies flying through windows _ all of it boringly familiar, meaningless and working against getting us involved with the characters.

Even worse, Bloom hasn't really made an attempt to think his script through, so much of what happens doesn't make any sense. If, for instance, Bauer's character can cause something to explode just by her thinking about it, why doesn't she simply explode the two bozos who are tracking her down? Bloom evidently hopes we'll be so entranced by the rock-video style and the wretched music that we won't be thinking about the story. He's probably right: No thinking individuals will stick with this awful film for very long.

They will, however, miss such wonderful dialog as: "Is this the price of freedom, Joey, _ killing?'' And they'll miss the final scene in which Bauer leaves, traveling on a spaceship that appears built from a collection of old coat-hangers and which crashes through a window for a final explosion. It's a kind of fitting farewell stupidity in a film that's filled with them.

© JOHN VOORHEES, 31 January 1985 The Seattle Times (Thank you, Susan!)