Generously greeted tv pic (theatrical abroad), immaculately helmed by Steven Soderbergh, and remarkably uninteresting. The saga of aging ivory-tickler Liberace and blond boy-toy Scott Thorson has few surprises: Campy entertainer lands his latest 20-something, but moves on when the youthifying pixie dust fails to rub off. A couple of bizarre incidents add color, especially when a taut-faced Rob Lowe shows up as a feel-good plastic surgeon, but in spite of numerous awards & nominations, the two leads are crucially, even cruelly, miscast. Matt Damon is supposed to be a teenage object of lustful affection, but well into his 40s, he looks slow on the uptake rather than hot, young & innocent. (Great ass though!) Michael Douglas gets all the non-essentials right, but can’t bring the flamboyant Liberace to life. When he walks on stage nothing happens; he doesn’t connect. Where’s Mr. Showmanship? The wardrobe’s in place, but none of the flair. The costumes might be wearing him. (See Hugh Jackman as Peter Allen to see what’s missing.) Douglas certainly got the reviews; chucking your personal vanity and smooching Matt Damon will do the trick for a mainstream movie star. Though, with Damon looking just like a ‘70s Kristy McNichols, how hard was it to pucker up?
SCREWY THOUGHT OF THE DAY: A year after Liberace died, Victor Garber played him in a tv movie before grabbing his next role the very same year in another tv bio . . . Ernest Hemingway, natch.