'Rosemary's Baby' review: Remake ultimately a snooze

Zoe Saldana and Patrick J. Adams star

Zoe Saldana and Patrick J. Adams star in the two-episode remake of Ira Levin's 1967 book, which director Roman Polanski also turned into an unforgettable 1968 film. (Credit: AP / Christophe Ena)

THE MINISERIES "Rosemary's Baby"

WHEN | WHERE Part One Sunday at 9 p.m., Part Two Thursday at 9 p.m. on NBC/4

WHAT IT'S ABOUT Guy Woodhouse (Patrick J. Adams) and his wife, Rosemary (Zoe Saldana) move to Paris so he can write his novel. But soon enough, they need a new apartment; that lovely place their new friends Margaux Castevet (Carole Bouquet) and her husband Roman (Jason Isaacs) are offering should do nicely. (Right?)


MORE: Greatest TV characters | Reality TV | TV Zone blog | TV Listings


Rosemary's pregnancy arrives in Thursday's episode, and yes, in this adaptation, you do get to see the baby's eyes, unlike in Roman Polanski's original with Mia Farrow and John Cassavetes (and set in Manhattan), a worldwide sensation in 1968.

MY SAY If the devil is in the details, then what to make of the key details here? For this four-hour remake, NBC hired a distinguished director, assembled an excellent cast, put them all in Paris where above ground is the glorious City of Lights and below a vast ossuary filled with the bones of six million nameless dead. Altogether, these have turned in to what is essentially . . . a bore.

How can this be? Agnieszka Holland isn't merely "distinguished" but an Oscar nominee ("Europa. Europa"). Bouquet is a legend, too ("That Obscure Object of Desire"). Saldana, always good, is actually a bit of a revelation here, as the sweet, frail, gentle soul who has no idea about the soulless thing inside her. "Suits" fans already love Adams, and I've loved Isaacs in everything he's ever been in.

Except this. Here's the problem: There's simply too much story, almost all of it padded. A quick illustration of the stuffing that went into this: The infamous door in the infamous apartment that leads to that infamous den of devil worshippers arrives within the first two minutes of the movie. You have to wait almost 45 minutes to get there Sunday.

Holland therefore has to front-load that time with preamble -- some of it germane, most of it not, to the overall story. As a result, "Rosemary's Baby" proceeds as if it hasn't a care in the world, while occasionally dropping in a shock scene just to remind viewers that the devil's hand is in this business. It then hurries back to exposition.

Lots and lots of exposition, absent any humor -- Polanski's "Baby" certainly had that in the oddest places -- and even Satan would doze off during the story of his birth.

BOTTOM LINE Nice to look at, good performances, but ultimately a snooze.

GRADE C+

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Newsday on social media

@Newsday

advertisement | advertise on newsday