Cybill Shepherd nails the role of the professional homemaking Martha Stewart in a TV-movie that pits a spatula-wielding, female David against a horde of male chauvinist Goliaths.
June 2002: Martha Stewart (Shepherd) learns that a stock tip could topple her business enterprises: The accusations of insider trading are intercut with the story of Martha's rise to prominence. One-time grade school pie seller Martha (Toni Grossett) grows up to become a teenaged over-achiever (Dorie Barton) who could never please her demanding father Ed Kostyra (Jude Ciccolella). Fortunately, a foray into modeling nets the teenaged Martha her first taste of success. As a student at Barnard College, she begins dating law student Andy Stewart (Seann Gallagher) and temporarily places her own ambitions on hold. But once she discovers that the Stewart Family has lost its fortune, the disappointed Martha plunges into money-making schemes in Manhattan. Her early success as a stock analyst is compromised by ethical lapses, forcing the tightly wound dynamo to retreat to her Connecticut home, where she re-invents herself as a gourmet-cooking, interior-decorating guru. Because Andy (Tim Matheson) has abandoned his law practice and established himself as a publisher, he shepherds Martha’s first how-to book to best-selling success in 1982. Never satisfied, Martha expands her lifestyle advice repertory into magazines and uses her family as props to reinforce her vision of domestic perfection for mass consumption. In addition to becoming the spokesperson for K-Mart, she develops and hosts her own TV show. When her stock goes public, she buys herself out of her Time-Warner contract for $85 million. Even cushioned by financial security, Martha can't relax. And then an alleged attempt to cover-up a relatively paltry stock sale threatens to jeopardize her billion dollar empire.
Although the script explains away Martha Stewart’s neuroses via TV-movie shorthand, Shepherd and Barton manage to flesh out the screenplay's skeletal treatment of a driven, complicated woman. Shepherd also infuses her impersonation of Stewart with humor -- an attribute sorely lacking in the real-life version, but one which greatly enhances the movie's entertainment value.
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- Released: 2003
- Rating: PG
- Review: Cybill Shepherd nails the role of the professional homemaking Martha Stewart in a TV-movie that pits a spatula-wielding, female David against a horde of male chauvinist Goliaths. June 2002: Martha Stewart (Shepherd) learns that a stock tip could topple… (more)