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The Boston Globe

Television

Television Review

‘Anna Nicole’ looks good but is only skin-deep

At points in “Anna Nicole,” the new Lifetime biopic, lead actress Agnes Bruckner seems to be engaging in some serious overacting. Her version of Anna Nicole Smith slurs her nonsensical words, walks like she’s on an inflatable floor, crawls up onto a bar. Her mascara is a panda-eye spectacular, although in one scene, as she natters on about how her baby bump is just a collection of gas, she lets a little girl with makeup give her a warped clown face. You wonder if Bruckner is pushing hard for “Valley of the Dolls” camp.

Then you start browsing YouTube, and you remember that Bruckner isn’t exaggerating at all. Smith, who died at age 39 in 2007, was truly an over-the-top wreck, a fact that, along with her enhanced breasts, became her professional calling card. In the YouTube clips, many of them from “Entertainment Tonight,” Smith is clearly out of her mind on drugs, alcohol, or, most likely, both. She is reckless and sloppy and sometimes on the verge of nodding. Watching her, you may find yourself wondering, once again, how anyone — her friends, her colleagues, the media — let her into the public eye in that condition. You may start to remember what a monster celebrity can be in the wrong hands.

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