I was talking to a friend the other day about Lifetime‘s highly publicized (for all the wrong reasons) biopic Liz & Dick, and when I mentioned that I didn’t know when it was coming out, she exclaimed, “How is it not out yet? It’s been forever!” Weirdly enough, it’s really been only about four months, but of course it seems longer with all of Lindsay Lohan‘s on-set troubles (including that time she was found unconscious in her hotel room and we were kinda prepared to hear that she’d died). And now Lifetime has released the first trailer, so we can all rest assured that this movie is actually happening!
Except, the Liz & Dick trailer doesn’t do much to get us hyped up for this movie we weren’t too optimistic about to start with. I’ve watched it three times before writing this post, and each time it’s just a scattered set of images and LiLo-as-Elizabeth-Taylor croaking out nonsensical lines. It’s just all so shallow: We see them, as the narrator says, “drink, fight, and fornicate,” and yet it’s neither dangerous nor sexy. All we know is that they’re two beautiful (?) people who are only good in the bedroom and otherwise hate each other.
Before you jump to the movie’s defense and say that thirty seconds is too little time to discern anything, let me remind you that Lifetime’s first ad for Drew Peterson: Untouchable was the same length and hit it out of the park. Why? Because instead of jumping around and summing up the whole movie, it gave us the most powerful scene: The nosy neighbor awakens one night to find that someone is turning her garage door on and off. She tiptoes into the garage to find Drew Peterson literally demonstrating how much power she has over him and the fact that she’ll never prove that he murdered his wives. And then he says the movie’s catchphrase — which, let’s be honest, is the only great Lifetime catchphrase in recent memory — “I’m untouchable, bitch.”
The Liz & Dick trailer should’ve followed the same formula and focused on a single moment—maybe the first time that Taylor and Richard Burton succumbed to their desires on the set of Cleopatra, or the moment where one of them realized they were hurting each other too much. If the editors could crystallize the movie down into a powerful moment like that, we might have more faith in the leads. As it stands, Grant Bowler just looks smug, and LiLo comes across as a hoarse parody of a film icon.