Lindsay Lohan Lindsay Lohan

What unbecomes a legend most? Look no further than this long weekend's well-timed candidate for the TV Turkey Hall of Fame: Liz & Dick (Lifetime, Sunday at 9/8c), an epic of stunningly cynical and pathetic miscasting, a TV-movie so laughably inept it doesn't deserve to be on a first-name basis with anything resembling humanity.

Even deep breaths seem too much to ask of Lindsay Lohan these days, let alone capturing the essence of an exotic film goddess who reigned for years as a superstar sex symbol, by which of course we mean Elizabeth Taylor — who isn't so much rolling in her grave but yawning and laughing from the great beyond at this sorry and tacky exploitation of her torrid history with Richard Burton. The movie itself is awkwardly structured as a seemingly posthumous joint interview with Liz and Dick, sitting and talking about their highs and lows to an unseen questioner. (Who knew Access Hollywood had access to the afterlife?)

The story actually begins on "the last day of Richard Burton's life" in 1984 (which makes him the lucky one), but quickly flashes to the '60s set of Cleopatra, back when Liz was in her prime — which the wan and petulant Lohan is anything but —and where sparks first flew between her Cleopatra and Dick's Marc Anthony. It's lust and love-hate at first sight, and pity poor Grant Bowler (Ugly Betty) as he attempts to pitch ludicrous woo ("We don't need a pool. I've got a whole ocean in you") to a blank-faced co-star with the allure of an asp. You'll find more exciting chemistry in a high-school lab.

The most authentic moment occurs when Liz informs Dick, "I can't tell you a thing about acting." Tell us something we don't know. And later, during one of the many tantrums and benders that constitute a story line, Liz cries, "I'm a joke!" The joke is on anyone who tunes in hoping for a memorable TV train wreck, hoping that Lohan's tabloid notoriety might add a sordid subtext to this insipid love story. No such luck. Liz & Dick might as well be titled, "Who's Afraid of Watching Lindsay Lohan Channel Elizabeth Taylor in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (After watching that recreation, I immediately booked a ticket to the excellent Broadway revival of the Albee play. Now that's acting!)

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