‘Anna Nicole’ Movie Premieres On Lifetime To Mixed Reviews
Anna Nicole, the latest made-for-TV movie “based on true events” to hit Lifetime, premiered on Saturday night in all of its campy over the top glory. Agnes Bruckner plays the late beauty, and is flanked by Martin Landau as Larry Birkhead and Adam Goldberg as lawyer Howard K. Stern. The TV movie, which was six years in the making, had a mixed reception from critics.
“On Saturday night, Lifetime blows out the doors with Anna Nicole, a true-life movie so good, so well-written and yet sleazy enough to satisfy even the cheesiest viewers among us,” raved the New York Post.
Boston Globe critic Matthew Gilbert could not have disagreed more, writing, “The movie, which premieres on Saturday at 8, has nothing to offer. It’s storytelling at its most shallow and unsatisfying. Written by John Rice and Joe Batteer and directed by Mary Harron, Anna Nicole barely conveys the basic facts of Smith’s life, never mind any bigger ideas about her private terrors and our cultural demons.”
A less scathing and more balanced review came from Variety. “Anna Nicole isn’t really about anything in the conventional sense, but still manages to be as hard to turn away from and vaguely sleazy as its namesake, which should suit Lifetime’s purposes just fine,” the magazine’s review by Brian Lowry read. “As guilty pleasures go, this one certainly doesn’t lack for moments at which to hoot.”
“While the movie is overall an engaging watch, it ends up on neutral ground,” wrote Allison Keene summing up her review for The Hollywood Reporter. “The emphasis on plot points rather than character development is occasionally shaken by some of the noteworthy performances. Ultimately though, after the final cavalcade of tragedies, the whole thing feels unsatisfying. Then again, that in and of itself may be most accurate of all the statements regarding Smith's life and legacy.”
The plus-sized supermodel and reality TV star Anna Nicole Smith tragically died in 2007 from an apparent accidental drug overdose at the age of 39. She left behind a legacy of a Marilyn Monroe-inspired transformation from a down to earth farm girl to a soft-spoken diva of the modeling world. A public meltdown curbed her modeling career, but spurned a reality TV show that brought the cameras into her bizarre life.
Anna Nicole will next air on Lifetime Monday, July 1 at 8/7c.