The early reviews are in for Lindsay Lohan's much-buzzed-about Lifetime TV movie "Liz & Dick," and let's just say the star won't be putting a bottle of champagne on her ridiculously-high tab at the Chateau Marmont after reading some of them. However, it isn't all bad news for the troubled star, who is desperately in need of a hit to remind people she's more than just tabloid fodder.
The Hollywood Reporter's Tim Goodman provides the harshest of the lot. Describing the biopic about Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton as "half train wreck, half 'SNL' skit," he flat out calls it "spectacularly bad," noting that it is "like a high school play" and it "truly drags." As for Lohan, she is "woeful as Taylor from start to finish" and "there is not one minute in this film where she's believable." He specifically calls out how bad she is playing an older version of Taylor. "The moment Lohan appears in this get-up, it's impossible not to laugh. It really does look like 'SNL.' She can't really pull off the young, sexy Liz with much believability, so the mid-'80s look is awkward squared."
Despite the scathing review, Goodman admits "you can't take your eyes off of Lohan," and recommends that viewers tune in -- to have a good laugh! "Lohan as Taylor was a bad idea in the dramatic sense, but it's pure genius both for marketing and for belly laughs and drinking games," he notes. He goes on to say that, if viewing the movie with the right people and the right drinks, by the end of the film you could be laughing so hard at Lohan dressed as the '80s-era Taylor that "your body may be cramped by convulsions."
Variety's Brian Lowry is a little kinder. While he also suggests a drinking game ("taking a swig every time a doctor or associate delivers bad news"), he describes the movie as "actually pretty good, all things considered." Lohan isn't the shining star in the movie however -- her performance is labeled "adequate, barring a few awkward moments" -- that honor goes to her co-star New Zealander Grant Bowler, who "classes up" "Liz & Dick" and is "the movie's secret weapon." Lowry ends the review by noting, "In a sense, the producers shrewdly used Lohan -- no stranger to the tabloids herself -- as a publicity multiplier, but they needn't have worried. Because while 'Liz & Dick' is wobbly at times, the movie ultimately stands on its own."
Meanwhile, the Denver Post's Joanne Ostrow's take is that the production is so stunning that it makes up for any bad dialogue or lackluster performances. Calling it a "glittery festival of great photographs and moving images," she notes, "No matter what you think of the actors, the great period stylings, not to mention 'Cleopatra'-period costumes, make this jewel-encrusted, cocktail-soaked, often tragic saga a rip-roaring good time." As for Lohan, she is "stunning" though "unbelievable when talking about [Taylor's] weight problem."
So it seems that "Liz & Dick" really isn't that bad. If you go into it with the right mindset -- knowing it will be campy and over-the-top with the typical bad TV movie dialogue -- it could actually be enjoyable. And perhaps a great way to counterbalance all that football during Thanksgiving weekend.
"Liz & Dick" airs Sunday, 11/25 at 9 PM on Lifetime Canada.