January 20th, 2014
01:25 PM ET
We could think of no better place for a TV adaptation of V.C. Andrews' "Flowers in the Attic" than Lifetime, yet the network somehow managed to turn the novel into a televised dud.
The story, first published in 1979 and read by teen girls everywhere in the years since, has all the elements for campy TV fun: irresponsible mothers, evil grandparents, gothic mansions and explosive family secrets. Plus - who can forget? - a pair of incestuous siblings.
And yet, when "Flowers in the Attic" debuted on Lifetime Saturday, critics were left bored.
"The network's new adaptation ... is what it is — a movie of the week, plopping off the assembly line with a little more gothic atmosphere than usual and some expensive accessories," yawned The New York Times' Mike Hale.
Yet the Los Angeles Times' Mary McNamara argued that the movie's terribleness should come as no surprise:"The book was terrible!" she said. "Rife with clunky dialogue, ridiculous characters and ludicrous plot twists. It was so terrible you could not put it down. ... None of which this 'Flowers' gets. The problem is not that it's just terrible, but that it's also no fun. At all."
Zap2It's review agrees, thinking that some of the novel's "delicious pulp" got lost as it was translated into a teleplay by Kayla Alpert.
The movie does stick close to the major plot points fans would remember: after the death of their father, four siblings travel with their mother, Corrine (Heather Graham) to her estranged parents' rural estate with the hope that she'll be able to gain her inheritance.
Once they get there, however, Corrine has to lock away the two oldest kids, Christopher (Mason Dye) and Cathy ("Mad Men's" Kiernan Shipka) along with the younger twins. The only person they really have contact with over the next four years is their horror show of a grandmother (Ellen Burstyn).
The Huffington Post found the movie "aesthetically pleasing," but was also disappointed with the poor editing and "flat" acting.
"Even allowing for the lowbrow standards that can paradoxically turn a Lifetime movie into a delectable piece of trash," said The Washington Post critic Hank Stuever, "this 'Flowers in the Attic' is a remarkably weak effort."
Did you watch "Flowers in the Attic" on Saturday? What'd you think?
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