Scott Marks 3:01 p.m., May 20
Review: Liz and Dick
Having just touched down from the planet Pluto, completely unaware of who Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were, one look at Liz and Dick would leave you believing the intention of this tawdry made-for-cable smellodrama was to paint a portrait of a pair of beautiful, marginally talented, and hopelessly self-absorbed lushes.
That being the case, Liz and Dick resonates with accuracy. Together, Hollywood's premier power couple contributed more to tabloid sales than filmed entertainment. Of the eleven features and one TV movie they collaborated on, one has a reputation (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?), one is a fascinating train-wreck (Joseph Losey's Boom), and the rest either trick deals, excuses to buy more jewelry, and/or vanity projects. Even Vincente Minnelli struggled in vain to make something watchable with the couple.
No director in their right mind would have turned down the chance to work with Burton and Taylor on their first film as man and wife, but according to Liz and Dick that is exactly how Anthony Asquith reacted when Burton suggested that Liz replace the departing Sophia Loren on The V.I.P.s.
If Lindsay Lohan truly believed that a made-for-Lifetime "original" would be her ticket back inside Hollywood's good graces, she's more strung out and delusional than anything previously reported on TMZ. She has the chest, makeup staff, and cartons of cigarettes to visually pull it off, but doesn't even try and mimic Taylor's monotone delivery. (In her defense, Lohan looks more like Taylor than Helen Mirren does Alma Hitchcock.)
Grant Bowler fares much better as the pickled ham who stunk up more frames of film than Pepe Le Pew. When caught between two suicidal dames -- a wife fed up with her husband's philandering and a movie star begging for attention -- Bowler displays more conviction than anything his Welsh counterpart could ever muster.
One cannot expect much in the way of meticulous period decor from a movie with a provisional budget such as this. I'll be forgiving when it comes to attempting to recreat Cleopatra with a crew of six and on a soundstage no bigger than the average dressing room Liz occupied.
The first shot in the film shows Taylor in the late '50's seated poolside and reading a magazine with an ad for Merit cigarettes on the back cover. Couldn't they at least have visited eBay and spent the $3 (plus shipping) it would have cost for a 1959 copy of Life?
Wake me if and when Lifetime ever gets around to making Liz and Larry.