Normally, who is married to/engaged to/dating who in the movie world is
something that I couldn't possibly care less about, and I still don't care,
but America's Sweethearts manages to make that very subject amusing and
entertaining. John Cusack and Catherine Zeta-Jones play Eddie Thomas and
Gwen Harrison, two movie stars who have been tremendously successful working
together and who have worked their way into the heart of the American
public. The conflict comes from their highly publicized breakup, which has
resulted in two consecutive box office failures for Gwen and some serious
psychological problems for Eddie.
Stanley Tucci takes on a small but very effective role as Dave Kingman, the short tempered studio executive, furious with Christopher Walken's much more entertaining Hal Weidmann, the introverted filmmaker who sent Kingman the first print of his film (after charging $86 million of the studio's money), which consisted of nothing but titles and the hilarious message, `We could also do these in blue.' Kingman throws a predictable but very funny tantrum. We spend the rest of the film wondering why Weidmann is so cocky toward Kingman and so close-mouthed about the film, but we are rewarded in the final act.
Julia Roberts comes back in an ironic role when compared to her recent (and far superior) role in Notting Hill, in which she was America's Sweetheart who had fallen in love with a regular guy. Here, she is the constantly unnoticed sister of Gwen Harrison, her big movie star sister. Both women are perfectly cast as the famous movie star and the famous movie star's sister, but this is more a testament to their abilities as actors than it is to the ingenuity of the casting director. The acting was just excellent. Hank Azaria plays the part of Hector (`This is bull-chit!'), the over-the-top Spanish guy with the hilarious lisp that Gwen has been seeing ever since her rough break up with Eddie. Hector is an amusing character, but it is obvious from the first scene where we see him (in which he insists that he and Gwen will `go to the hunket' together.') that he is an expendable character. He's funny, but he still badly mangled the Spanish accent as well as the lisp, coming off as amusing but impossible to take seriously.
The entire romantic subplot of the film was predictable from the very beginning, if only because it was given away in its entirety in the theatrical trailer. If you have ever heard of this movie before watching it, then you've already seen the emotional scene where Kiki (Roberts) tells Eddie that that woman that he saw standing by the spa that he had to spend the rest of his life with was her, and not her sister Gwen. From that perspective, America's Sweethearts is one of those movies where if you've seen the preview, you've seen the movie (take Pleasantville as another example).
Christopher Walken provides an excellent source of comic relief as well as one of the only really interesting characters in the film. He is the nutty filmmaker (indeed, the best films almost unwaveringly come from the people who are a little off') who edits his films in the Unabomber's cabin, which he had moved onto his property, and who indeed created a truly memorable film, of which we unfortunately are only able to see a small portion. `The Blair Bitch Project,' as the press later calls it, is a kind of film that would be really interesting. The tabloids would have a field day.
There are a lot of sight gags and low brow humor in America's Sweethearts, and it is reported to bear a striking resemblance to Singin' In The Rain (although remains far inferior to that classic musical comedy), but it manages to keep the audience entertained if not hanging on every word. True film fanatics are sure to pick it apart for nearly feeding off of classic films and for following such a clear-cut formula, but there is definitely something to be enjoyed here.
Action / Comedy / Romance
Action / Comedy / Romance
In the midst of a nasty public breakup of married movie stars, a studio publicist scrambles to put a cap on the escalating situation as the couple's latest film has found its only print kidnapped by the director.
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September 01, 2011 at 06:57 PM