Not all Ernest Hemingway stories are classics. As a book, Hemingway's short After the Storm is probably a decent read. As a TV movie, it is plodding, tedious and maybe a tad too languid for its own good.
After The Storm, airing tonight at 9 p.m. on USA, makes the mistake of getting too caught up in the leisurely pace of exotic Belize, where it was shot. But that's the least of its problems.
The anti-hero is Arno (Benjamin Bratt), an American expatriate turned Caribbean beachcomber in 1939, facing blackmail for a crime he doesn't realize he didn't commit. He sees his fortunes turn when he stumbles on a luxury yacht that sank after a storm, complete with gold and other riches.
Arno is aided by his sweet new girlfriend Coquina (Mili Avital), and an untrustworthy businessman (Armand Assante) and his wife (Simone-Elise Girard), whom Arno just ended a love affair with.
The four are looking over their shoulders, as well as at each other, as they try to retrieve the riches before some crooks can catch up with them.
The movie takes too long to set up the treasure hunt, but what's worse is most of the characters lack redeeming social values. Bratt is easy on the eyes swimming around in his underwear, but even he isn't likable. And watch out for the trick ending, which is telegraphed about two-thirds into the film.
_ Times wires