May 15, 1998 at 04:00 AM EDT

It’s with touching, absurd earnestness that Membery — his very name sounding like something out of a Martin Amis novel — plods doggedly through the childhood bogs of Brosnan, the man who would be Bond, in Pierce Brosnan: The New Unauthorised Biography. No estranged aunt, minor mate, or chastened ex is left unturned in a plot that includes both tragedy (wife Cassandra Harris died of ovarian cancer) and comedy (tension aplenty on the set of NBC’s dorkily addictive Remington Steele) yet still fails to compel. Not so the embarrassing photos of the natty Irishman, dug up from back when he toiled in hippie theater troupes. C

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