Shades of Gray (1992) starring Valerie Bertinelli, George Dzundza, Peter Dobson, David Marshall Grant, Micole Mercurio, Randle Mell, Andrew May, Joe Viterelli directed by Kevin James Dobson Movie Review

Shades of Gray (1992)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Valerie Bertinelli in Shades of Gray (1992) (aka: What She Doesn't Know)

One Shade of Gray

After graduating from Harvard Molly Kilcoin (Valerie Bertinelli - Claire) upsets her cop father Jack (George Dzundza - Basic Instinct) by turning down a lucrative job for a prominent law firm and instead taking a job as a rookie District Attorney. Molly ends up in the Racket Bureau where she comes face to face with Joey Martinelli (Peter Dobson - A Stranger's Heart) who she went to school with and who now has been working as an errand boy for the mob but is receiving immunity in return for testifying against crime boss Tommy Carducci (Joe Viterelli). Molly learns plenty from Tommy and suspects that cops in the precinct where her father worked may have been taking bribes.

"Shades of Gray" or "What She Doesn't Know" as it is also known is a pleasant but completely unremarkable crime drama which throws an attractive lead at us, some mafia stereotypes, a bit of mystery but nothing which you won't have come across in countless other movies. It is shall we say typical of the TV movie genre and as such ends up one of those movies which for serious movie fans will either be insulting or amusing but alright for those who enjoy the easiness of TV movies.

Peter Dobson in Shades of Gray (1992) (aka: What She Doesn't Know)

Now it has to be said that there are some seriously amusing aspects to "Shades of Gray" starting with the simple fact we are meant to believe that Valerie Bertinelli as Molly isn't a looker. So we have her in dull suits, behind big glasses and having her hair tied back which yes makes her look dull but not for a minute makes her any less attractive. Then there are those mafia men and in one of the most amusing scenes we have them in a car singing opera just before one of them strangles a passenger, it is so cheesy it is embarrassing. There are plenty more of these scenes which just end up making you laugh because of their lack of realism and cheesiness such as the scene where Molly talks to Joey and gets him to agree to sing like a canary.

Of course there is a purpose to all this as it is all about Molly being this smart cookie who despite being a rookie is much better than some who have been there a long time. And in an easy to watch manner it works because not only are the stereotypical mafia guys entertaining but so is Bertinelli. But it is all incredibly manufactured which you will either warm to the characters or laugh at them.

What this all boils down to is that "Shades of Gray" is an entertaining TV movie but one which is in no way believable and pretty much more about the likeability of Valerie Bertinelli than the actual story.