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Great stars are wasted in ABC’s awful movie

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Here's the lowdown on ABC's movie "These Old Broads" — great stars, awful movie. It's about as low down as it could get.

There are four reasons to watch the teleflick, which airs Monday at 7 p.m. on Ch. 4 — Joan Collins, Shirley MacLaine, Debbie Reynolds and Elizabeth Taylor. All are pros who make the most they can of Carrie Fisher and Elaine Pope's script, but that isn't much. Pope and Fisher, who is also Reynolds' daughter, dig deep into the lowest common denominator for tacky, tasteless and vulgar humor.

The premise plays on the women's real lives. Reynolds (who's 68), Collins (67) and MacLaine (66) are three fading Hollywood stars who are suddenly back in the limelight when a film they made together in the 1960s is a huge hit when it's re-released. And they're recruited to play on that refound fame by doing a network TV special.

Taylor (68), looking none too steady, appears as their agent, a woman who declares "I'm big as a bungalow" and manipulates the catty, competitive trio to reteam.

The characters are fictionalized versions of the actresses. Reynolds' character owns a Las Vegas casino; MacLaine's chants and talks about past lives; Collins' is the ultimate diva; Taylor's has been married umpteen times.

Oh, "Broads" does have its moments. Like a delicious sequence when the characters played by Taylor and Reynolds talk about a mutual ex-husband, Freddy — an obvious reference to their real-life mutual ex-husband, Eddie Fisher (Carrie's father).

"I did you a favor by taking away Freddie," Taylor says. "The man had skinny little hairless legs and a saggy (butt). It was like coupling with a clothespin."

And she adds, "I was with Freddie because I was in a blackout. What's your excuse?"

But those moments are few and far between. The movie quickly degenerates into bad sex jokes and an awful sequence that's sort of a low-budget "Weekend at Bernie's."

It's great to see Taylor, Reynolds, MacLaine, Collins in anything — too bad it's this dreadful movie.

E-mail: pierce@desnews.com