Lizzie (Movie Review)

Joe R's rating: ☆ ½ Director: David Dunn Jr. | Release Date: 2013

I have run out of words to describe a movie like 2013’s “Lizzie.” Tired, uninspired, insipid, lazy, bland… they all cover this insipid piece of filmmaking. My thesaurus can’t help me anymore, so let me just say this: “Lizzie” is a waste of 93 minutes. If you have a choice between this and any other movie, you’re probably better off going with the latter.

Let’s see if I can piece together the “plot” of this one. After a short prologue that tells you about the history of Lizzie Borden (told in rhyme!), we meet Lizzie Allen (played by Amanda Baker) and her boyfriend Jason (played Leif Holt, who also co-wrote the screenplay). The first hour follows them in their house as they fight and make up, fight and make up. Apparently Lizzie is suffering from nightmares or visions, and complains to her psychiatrist (played by Corbin Bernsen in full-on “paying off my second mortgage” mode) that the pills he’s giving her aren’t strong enough. Then we meet another character, a neighbor named Maggie (played by Shawna Waldron). Finally we see some flashback with Lizzie Borden and her parents (her father played by Gary Busey) and some awful gore effects.

That synopsis probably seems clumsy, right? Well, that’s exactly how watching “Lizzie” felt. Nothing felt connected. What is the link here between Lizzie Borden and Lizzie Allen? What are we supposed to make of the Maggie character? Is she real? Is she a figment of Lizzie Allen’s imagination? Can't Holt as the screenwriter and director David Dunn Jr. at least try to come up with an explanation? Instead we get nothing.

But the plot holes are only one of this film’s problems. Another obvious one is the casting of Baker in the title role. She is featured in nearly every scene in the movie, and yet she projects no charisma. Most of the time she’s wandering around with a glass of wine in her hand (we even see her at one point bring wine into the shower with her—who does that?). There is no chemistry between Baker and Holt, they ramble through their lines with no character, no passion.

Even if Baker and Holt had been master thespians, “Lizzie” would still be a failure. The dialogue is just abysmal. These characters say things no one would normally say in a given situation. The scenes between Baker an Bernsen are painfully bad. Finally, the film has a continuous soundtrack that completely takes the viewer out of the movie. It ranges from chimes and choirs to a short burst of heavy metal (the heavy metal music is played as we watch Holt’s character make a cup of coffee... huh?).

I wasn’t expecting “Lizzie” to be great—with Bernsen and Busey you can only expect goofy fun—but it wasn’t out of the realm of possibility for this film to be halfway entertaining. Unfortunately this movie isn’t “so bad it’s good,” it’s just bad.

Joe R