Let’s be real: you’re not going to watch “Liz & Dick” because you want to know about the love story of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. If you tune into this mess of a movie, premiering Sunday night on Lifetime, it will be because you want to see how bad Lindsay Lohan is in her supposed comeback.
Spoiler alert: she ain’t back yet. Not with this.
It’s impossible to sit in front of this hour-and-a-half long soap opera and convince yourself that you’re watching the legendary Liz. It’s always Lohan. Her voice slips frequently into her Long Island rasp. Liz’s vodka-fueled breakdowns recall Lohan’s litany of arrests, probation violations, and rehab stays. Great actors disappear into roles. Lohan photo-bombs this one.
It’s funny, because the whole thing is very meta. “Liz & Dick” focuses on the couple’s fraught relationship with the paparazzi. They hate it but they love it. At one point, Liz convinces the director of “The V.I.P.s” to cast her in the movie with Burton and boot Sophia Loren. Her logic: though he’ll spend more money on her fee, he can fire his PR team, because who needs publicity flacks when you’ve got Liz and Dick and the flashbulbs that follow them?
Apparently the folks at Lifetime thought the same thing. Hire Lohan, guarantee publicity, and who cares how good it is? As the Hollywood Reporter pointed out, her casting was a “bad idea in the dramatic sense, but it’s pure genius both for marketing and for belly laughs and drinking games.” (Take a shot every time Lohan bats her false eyelashes and you’re likely to end up comatose on the floor.)
There is a lot of unintentional hilarity in “Liz & Dick.” Burton’s nicknames for Taylor include Ms. Bossy Boots and Mrs. Pudgy Digits. Lohan’s limp flinging of glassware looks like a high school play.
Best of all is the narration technique employed by the producers: Taylor and Burton dressed in all black, sitting on director’s chairs, recalling their own lives like guests on “Inside the Actor’s Studio.” It’s completely absurd. Burton dies and then reaches out to take Taylor’s hand as she talks about his death minutes later. You want to yell, “BUT HE JUST DIED!”
So: watch this movie for laughter, fabulous outfits, and lots of Lohan. Read “The Richard Burton Diaries” if you actually care about Liz and Dick.
Lifetime is owned in part by Disney, the parent company of ABC News.