Jackie and Joan Collins should make a sisterly pact: They should agree that neither will intrude in the other's area of expertise. Thus, Jackie won't try to act and Joan won't try to write.
I have never seen Jackie Collins in anything more than a cameo role, but I have just suffered through Joan Collins' first novel, "Prime Time." It reminded me of a "Star Trek" episode (not the one in which Joan appeared) in which an alien has a home that duplicates one from 17th century Europe. But it is just props and facades, not substance: The food and wine have no taste; the paintings, no depth; the music, no soul.In "Prime Time," Joan takes all the elements found in Jackie's wildly successful trashy novels and throws them into the literary pot. Unfortunately, the sum of the pieces turns out to be less than the whole.
Joan Collins makes all the mistakes a college freshman makes in Creative Writing 101. She introduces characters and then ignores them for hundreds of pages; she has too many protagonists (five women's careers in Hollywood are followed); she wastes too much time describing the scenery, the clothing, the jewelry, the makeup; and there is virtually no plot.
Collins throws in every tired, predictable scenario possible - the married couple in which the husband is gay; the aging, boozy, past-her-prime celebrity; the heart-of-gold singer; the psychopath stalker; the libidinous rock star; the young stud; and the toy boys.
And her characters and their situations are so obviously drawn from well-known celebrities that there is no sport in figuring out who's who. Chloe Carriere, the British actress who lands the part of witchy Miranda Hamilton on the nighttime TV soap opera "Saga," is based mostly on Joan Collins' own life, even down to her pop-singer husband Joshua Brown, who is much like one of Joan's ex-husbands, Anthony Newley. Emerald Barrymore is a blond Elizabeth Taylor and the anorexic Sissy Sharp is a combination of Mary Tyler Moore and Heather Locklear, Collins' "Dynasty" co-star.
There is little to recommend in "Prime Time." The writing is awful; the sex scenes are few and far between, and you need a score card to keep up with all the players. Even trashy novels have some standards to meet.