Lindsay Lohan branded 'woeful' in Elizabeth Taylor biopic

The actress's acting comeback hasn't worked out all that well if the critics' responses are anything to go by

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Lindsay Lohan has been involved in yet another crash, this time unrelated to drink driving. She has crashed and burned according to American arts critics with her “train wreck” portrayal of Elizabeth Taylor in the movie Liz & Dick.

The American actress, 26, was making her acting comeback after stints in jail and rehab by appearing in the made-for-television film about British-born Hollywood icon Taylor and her tempestuous relationship with Richard Burton.

But critics have panned Lohan, who stars opposite Kiwi actor Grant Bowler, 44, in the film.

The Hollywood Reporter branded it “half train wreck, half SNL skit” and called Lohan’s performance “woeful”. It said the film was “both an awful mess and an instant classic of unintentional hilarity.”

The New York Daily News writes that the film gives an impression of the theatricality of the Burton-Taylor love story that is more akin to “rhinestones” than “diamonds”.

“It's tempting to say the movie's big problem is that Lohan is no Liz Taylor. And she isn't - though that's not entirely her fault. There aren't all that many actresses, or women, who can stop a room simply by walking into it,” it writes.

Newsday’s verdict was that Lohan “delivers lines dutifully, competently and at times woodenly” but it thought she was close to “sleepwalking” through the role.

Not all the reviews were stinkers. Variety described the film as “actually pretty good, all things considered”.

Much has been made by critics (and by the filmmakers) of the similar backgrounds of the two actresses Lohan and Taylor, both of whom started their careers as children and went on to have very public break-ups and live troubled lifestyles.

Lohan appeared in her first film aged 11. Her co-star Bowler feels she was a “natural fit” to play Taylor because of this.

“For Lindsay, I imagine, and I can only imagine … because she grew up on sets and did her homework on set and fell asleep watching TV waiting to go on set, it’s a much more instinctive process [playing Taylor],” he told NY Daily News.

“It’s much more natural to be in the trailer or on set than anywhere else.”

Lohan told the Mirror last week that she had to fight to get cast as Taylor after two years not working during which she spent three months at a Betty Ford rehab clinic. The actress has been on probation on and off for five years following convictions for drink driving and one incident of shoplifting and has served several short stints in jail for probation violations.

“I fought to get the role in Liz & Dick because I related to her so much because of her position in the public eye and the media obsession with her, and the ups and downs in her relationships and life. And that's aside from her love for diamonds!" she said.

The film goes out on American television this weekend.