December 2, 2012

Liz & Dick [TV movie] (2012)

Lindsay Lohan, Grant Bowler

Now I realize this is just a TV movie, but honestly, who knows if we'll ever see Lindsay Lohan in a real movie again...

The real problem is Lindsay. Don't get me wrong - I love Lindsay Lohan. I always have. I'm not ashamed to admit it. There was even a time when I felt like if I knew her personally, we would be friends. For all the bat-shit-crazy stuff she's been through, I still see her as the adorable 10 year-old twins in The Parent Trap. But as aged as she looks from all her drinking and partying, it only makes her look like those people who have had a hard life, not old like she's been married three times and has a couple of kids already. Only her raspy smoker voice makes her sound older, but even that is an issue because well, she still sounds like Lindsay Lohan. Which is weird, because she does a perfectly fine British accent as Hallie Parker in The Parent Trap, yet that same accent is nowhere to be found in this movie. And you know how I feel about inaccurate accents.

Casting someone as high-profile (notice I didn't say A-List; I think Hollywood kicked her off after she made the TV movie, Labor Pains) as Lindsay is a mistake in a biography. It's just like when movies cast people with distinctive voices to ruin animated movies. (examples: Owen Wilson in Cars, Ellen DeGeneres in Finding Nemo, Samuel L. Jackson in, well, anything...) At no point can you watch this movie and not see Lindsay Lohan playing dress up as Elizabeth Taylor. I've never even seen an Elizabeth Taylor movie and I couldn't buy into her as the character! In fact, about the only thing accurate about Lindsay's portrayal is that Richard Burton once said Elizabeth Taylor had short legs and a double chin - Lindsay has both of those, made painfully aware during the multiple close-up shots on her face. Again, reminding us that she really looks nothing like Elizabeth Taylor.

Grant Bowler, on the other hand, is plenty handsome enough for me to believe someone might leave their husband for him. And he at least uses a somewhat correct accent. Though he's not really famous, I'm a little confused as to how he ended up tangled in this mess of a movie. Perhaps the Lifetime Channel should have dipped into their roster of attractive/not-attractive leading men who only appear as guest stars on random shows like Criminal Minds or Bones so that people wouldn't be fooled into thinking this might not be as terrible a movie as it seemed. (Side note: I'm convinced Lifetime has a policy of only using actors and actresses who look just slightly more attractive than regular people, so when you first see them you're fooled into thinking they're attractive, but on second glance...)

One last complaint - the same as always - casting. Elizabeth and Richard are only supposed to be 7 years apart. Lindsay and Grant are almost 20 years apart. And Lindsay looks like a coked-out overgrown child, so it's even more disconcerting every time they make out on screen. Every. Single. Time. As the movie preview says, "they drink, they fight, they fornicate" - so you can imagine there is plenty of cringe-inducing PDA. Sigh. Maybe one day Hollywood will get it right with the pairings.

The most entertaining part of the movie though, hands down, is the ridiculously fake backdrops used to show us Elizabeth and Richard out and about in Rome. I realize it's a TV movie, but if you can't afford to actually shoot a scene in Rome, just don't show any outdoor shots! I mean, they couldn't even spring for some CGI? I guess Dance Moms just isn't paying the bills. Shocking.

Final word: It's totally believable as a Lifetime movie. I'll leave it at that.

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