Howards are a Girl’s Best Friend

This type of story is all too familiar, with echos of Marilyn Munro in this biopic of Anna Nicole Smith (Agnes Bruckner), who based her appearance on the sex siren. Anna strove her whole life to be someone who would be remembered, which of course, finally she was. But for all the wrong reasons. She used prescription drugs to help her dance or act, however it eventually controlled her instead of she controlling it, which ultimately led to her untimely, sad demise.

Lifetime have actually done a decent job on this TV movie about former Playboy, Anna Nicole Smith, who, as a single mom, beat the odds and made something of herself by dancing then modelling. It’s the usual sad tale of hopes, dreams and one night stands, and sadly, it all actually happened. Anna is posing for the cameras, answering questions, then we see her laid out in the morgue. Now flashback to her childhood and we start by seeing Anna as a small child cycling home, then she’s hiding in her house and finding porn magazines which she eyes in admiration as the beautiful blonde model gracing its cover smiles back at her. She’s a small town Texas girl being raised by a single parent (Virginia Madsen) but mom has questionable parenting skills. Anna is warned never to get pregnant while too young, after mom stops her going out with a padded bra and make up. She claims she only wants to go bowling but she isn’t believed and locked in her room.

As an aside, this is a movie about a real person and real world issues. If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction, reach out to Texas Drug Center Rehab Listings here.

Of course, she’s now a single mother herself, and after her mother refuses to help her or her child, she starts work as a stripper. She soon learns that to get on as a pole dancer, she needs to upgrade her chest to size “bowling ball.” That’s more or less what she say’s to the doctor, when asked which size she wants. It is while working in the club she meets her sugar daddy J. Howard Marshall (Martin Landau) who is a rich oil tycoon. He gives her a horse and the ranch, then asks her to marry. His son isn’t happy about it and threatens to ruin it for her, but she appears able for him. Is she really? Rehab clinics, dodgy TV deals and death follow the buxom beauty and worse of all, the drugs that finally take her life, and while this is indeed a sad tale, it’s also an interesting one that I enjoyed right through.

Grade: B-

Ed Blackadder