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Lohan As Liz Taylor

November 27, 2012 by  

Lohan As Liz Taylor, No one expected her to be anything but awful. And we were not disappointed. One can understand, I guess, the ironic stunt-casting of Lindsay Lohan as Elizabeth Taylor in the Lifetime biopic Liz & Dick. Understand, but not condone. What Lifetime gained in pre-show publicity they lost in any remaining shred of credibility.

On the other hand, they pretty much guaranteed themselves massive tune-in numbers out of sheer morbid curiosity to see how bad she’d screw it up. It’ll be interesting to see how many of those people managed to stick with it to the end. There is only so long you can look at a traffic accident before the tragedy starts to sink in.

It’s not just Lohan, who somehow exceeds even our incredibly low expectations. There is a script here that appears to have been written in crayon, by Christopher Monger – incredibly, the same man who penned the Emmy-winning HBO film Temple Grandin.

It starts in 1961, at a Hollywood party, where Richard Burton first lays eyes on Taylor. Burton is actually quite well played by Grant Bowler, who impressively evokes that familiar, broody Shakespearean voice. He looks just a little like Burton … but mostly like Aaron Eckhart.

Lohan in no way looks like Taylor. Nor does she sound like Taylor. She looks and sounds like Lindsay Lohan, playing dress-up in her mother’s ’60s castoffs, too much makeup and a series of increasingly unrealistic wigs.

Burton begins with a voice-over narration, which we see is a letter he’s writing 23 years later, at his home in Switzerland. He tells the maid, “I’m going to lie down.” It is painfully apparent that he is not going to get up again.

Instead, we get a framing narrative sequence that reunites the couple, apparently post-mortem, in their prime and all dressed in black. It is a ridiculous conceit meant to compensate for the holes in the storytelling. This is a true story! How can there be holes in the storytelling? It actually happened!

It can’t have happened like this. Taylor and Burton were, in life and on film, over-the-top dramatic. But this is ridiculous.

They meet again on the Italian set of Cleopatra, the ill-fated 1963 epic and their first co-starring film. They immediately rub each other the wrong way, this in spite of Burton’s facetious wooing of her as “a beautiful woman with the depths of the ocean in your violet eyes and the promise of a ripe plum in your soft firm lips and your spilling white hit bosom …”

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