Anna Nicole


by Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

This film covers 22 years of Anna Nicole Smith's life in 88 minutes. If you are particularly cynical you might note: (1) that's because she never did anything important; (2) enough time has been devoted to her already. Those are superficial comments. Anna Nicole's life was, in fact, full and interesting. One day she was working in a fast food joint in East Noplace, Texas, and a short time later she was the spokesperson for Guess Jeans, a Playmate of the Year, a billionaire's wife, and an actress in some feature-length films. Not too long after that, she was monstrously overweight. Then she lost 69 pounds and looked great again. Then we looked away for a few seconds, and when our gaze returned to her, she and her grown son were both dead. In the background were several legal contests between her and the billionaire's family, plus a sexual harassment suit filed against her by a former employee. An aspect of one of her cases even made it to the Supreme Court! That was just while she lived. The end of her life was followed by various additional legal complications relating to the circumstances of her death, the custody of her infant daughter, and the disposition of her estate, with all of the legal maneuverings chronicled daily by the cable news networks.

While Anna painted no masterpieces and brought no peace to the Middle East, her life fascinated us in its own way, and there is probably enough material there to make several interesting movies, with several different possible perspectives, because Anna's public life was larger than ours, was both innocent and sleazy, both a comedy and a tragedy.

On the comic side, there was her ridiculous movie career in the mid-90s, her notoriously dim-witted public comments, her obese phase, and the ridicule she received from stand-up comics and shock-jock Howard Stern.

On the tragic side, she lost her billionaire (she really did seem to love that old geezer, and he her) and totally fell apart. Then just when she seemed on the verge of a comeback by regaining her figure and producing a new baby, she lost her grown son and her own life, all before her 40th birthday.

Unfortunately, the script has no focus and no point of view. It's a broad-brush bio, and there is too much material in Anna's life to cover in a docudrama. This film just walks through her life, checking off the highlights and taking no time to reflect upon any of it. The center of the film, to the extent it has one, is the relationship between Anna and her son Daniel, but even that feels half-finished. The only part of the film I liked at all was the brief part that explored the relationship between Anna and her billionaire. As portrayed in this film, they were two completely ingenuous people who genuinely brought pleasure to each other in an atypical way. When the film concentrated on their offbeat love story, it was interesting. Unfortunately, that relationship was given the surface treatment, like everything else in the film. The rest of the film ... well, it's got nothin'.

In her everyday appearance and using her natural voice, Willa Ford doesn't look or sound like Anna Nicole, but she did deliver a reasonably convincing impersonation. Unfortunately, all of the other characters are virtually anonymous, excepting her son. As I watched, I kept thinking to myself, "Now who is this character again?" Even the familiar characters like Larry Birkhead and Howard K. Stern are just undeveloped background players in this broadly painted treatment. If I had not known a bit about Stern and Birkhead in advance from various Larry King Shows, I would not have understood their significance in Anna's life by watching this film. In fact, I wouldn't even have known their last names.

With a sensationalized choice of excerpts and some really bad background music, the trailer below makes the film seem like a 1970s porno flick, or maybe a surreal Ken Russell biopic. That's utterly misleading. If the film had really gone for some Ken Russell decadence, it would have been more fun. Or it could have ridiculed Anna Nicole. Or it could have treated her as a tragic victim of the lust for fame created by her culture. Any of those positions might have worked effectively, but the actual film took no position at all and created no hook, so it plays out like a network TV "movie of the week" from the 1980s.



* DVD info unavailable*







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5.0 IMDB summary (of 10)


Never released to theaters. As I type these words, it has not been released to home media either.


  • The real topless shots are from background actresses and an obvious body double in the strip club audition. Willa Ford herself showed virtually nothing, a bit of areola and the bottom of her bum.



Our Grade:

If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to read the explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by our definition, a C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a:


Not worth your time.