Did I know it would be bad? Of course I did! The early reviews were scathing. But I simply had to see for myself. How bad could it be? Well…I wasn’t disappointed. Let me tell you.
“They fight!! They drink!! They fornicate!!!” proclaims the movie trailer. That part is true. But the marketing folks also promised that this was “provocative” and “This year’s biggest television event“. Of course they did. I beg to differ!
Tabloid favourite Lindsay Lohan (26) plays Elizabeth Taylor and the TV movie depicts her love affair with fellow actor Richard Burton, played by Grant Bowler. This couple was the Brangelina of their day. They met on the set of Cleopatra and were married to other people. Liz was only 29 but already on her fourth marriage. The movie chronicles their tumultuous relationship from first meeting until Burton’s death in 1984.
In a story like this, there’s so much material, you can make a mini-series. Thank goodness they didn’t and it was only two hours’ worth of pure cheese. Where to begin? First, let’s start with the script. Imagine for a second having to listen to lines like this:
Burton to Taylor:
“My heart is broken and you have the broken pieces“
Or how about this gem Taylor says to the hotel concierge: “I must get into Mr. Burton’s suite. Oh, you do know I’m shagging him senseless don’t you?”
And should I mention that there’s a part in this movie where Burton’s genitals are referred to as “His Hamlet”?.
Let’s move on. The couple meet on the set of Cleopatra and hate each other immediately. We’re not exactly sure why, except that he has a reputation as a ladies’ man and she doesn’t want to be another notch on that Welsh belt!
The turning point comes when the two have to film a love scene. This comes as a surprise to both of them. Now wouldn’t you think that two professional actors would have a) read the script before accepting the movie role and b) would at least be familiar with fact that Anthony and Cleopatra were lovers?
With just one on-set kiss, they are suddenly madly in love and spend their time shagging in trailers to avoid being discovered by their spouses. And the whirlwind affair takes off!
The script is awful but so is Lohan’s performance. Never once has Lohan managed to convey Taylor’s charisma, sexiness or talent. Never for a moment do we forget it’s Lindsay Lohan under that black wig, playing dress-up as Liz Taylor. Grant Bowen is okay but his lines are so dreadful (as are his wigs) that you just end up feeling bad for the guy.
The entire production feels like a bunch of people in community theatre. It was so bad and cheesy it was starting to become funny. You know when people take themselves so seriously it becomes laughable? Or perhaps watching this was killing my brain cells so everything was becoming funny.
Especially when Lohan portrays an older Taylor. The only difference is the wig. But her face and body still look like a 26 year-old. Lohan ends up looking more like Joan Collins circa 1985 than Liz Taylor.
It’s worth noting what Lohan has been saying about her career while promoting the movie in US Weekly recently:
“I want to do a ton of movies first. After I win an Oscar, I can start thinking about love. I think there are a lot of directors and producers who know I’m a good actress. I just want them to get past the misconception that I’m not reliable, because I am. I’m going to make them believe in me again.”
Yes, you read it right. Lohan expects to win an Oscar someday. Note to Lohan: Acting is more than just donning a wig and some period outfits. If that were the case, I could make a great Liz Taylor too. Good luck on the Oscar thing.
I did eventually make it to the bitter end. Barely. That’s two hours of my life I’ll never get back…