Julia Roberts, John Cusack, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Billy Crystal, Christopher Walken,
Stanley Tucci, Seth Green, Alan Arkin.
Directed by: Joe Roth
believe it or not, by: Billy Crystal & Peter Tolan
speaking? I have to begin with a preamble here folks. The cast, John Cusack,
Catherine Zeta-Jones, Julia Roberts, reads like a director's dream list. I love
John Cusack. I have since the teenage years. He's super swell on the retina, mega-talented
and simply charming. Catherine Zeta Jones is a very talented and beautiful actor.
She's proven herself in more than a few good roles, and stood-up to the less-than-flatering
press for her personal choice in spawning partners. Julia Roberts has that certain
light within her that could keep a small fishing village lit through a storm of
. BUT, I still hated this colossal erroneously cast hack-fest-extravaganza.
It's not that any actor involved was bad. Contrary, they were consummate
professionals uttering the doggie doo-doo script they were given as best they
could. It's not that the film was telegraphically predictable, which it was, that
made it so unbearable. It was just its relentless corniness and goofy music piping
in all around in Dolbly accenting the kucka that made one squirm with each frame.
Don't get me wrong it's a comedy, you don't look for Schindler's List depth
- if you know what I mean. Even park- your-brain-at-the-concession-stand comedies
are bearable, enjoyable even charming--when they work. You're there to laugh,
giggle, dare I say have a few Guffaws! Not here. American Sweethearts has
no such comedic charm, and left the laughter for part two I guess.
Bill Crystal reduced himself (as he co-wrote this) to spewing Yiddish jargon for
laughs. And you always know you're in trouble - comically - when they bring out
the testicle jokes (Farrelly Bros. Films being the solitary exception to the God-deemed
veneer they call a story ...revolves around America's movie sweethearts, Eddie
(John "still talented-even if I sometimes pick Stilton cheesy scripts"
Cusack) and Gwen (Catherine "I just had to get out of the house
baby cries all the time" Zeta Jones).
are actors responsible for Meg Ryan/Tom Hanks-esque fluffy romantic fare the public
can't get enough of. They are also, married off screen, though not happily. Their
marriage is on the rocks; big old New England coastal rocks. Gwen had an affair,
which lead to a separation, which lead to Eddie's breakdown. She's living with
a Spaniard named Hector (Hank Azaria). And the token Spanish jokes are flying.
and Eddie are still the world's most romantic couple-in the public's eyes. Though,
the reality is quite different. Eddie's distraught, a year and a half later,
over the celestial break-up and is knee deep in herbal healing tonics and found
repeating silly daily inspirations stashed away in a Hollywood style "wellness
center", while Gwen enjoys long hot days fiddling with her new man kebab
while sipping on fame's cool elixir. Her last two movies failed and she's getting
nervous about her star's shine though.
two have a "last" movie in post-preduction, Time Over Time, that
could resurrect her career, and after all, promotion of the film regardless of
their personal dysfunctional differences, must go on.
the sneaky manipulative studio head (Stanley "way too good to slum like this"
Tucci) gets Lee (Billy Crystal know this is killing me Bill) a sneaky manipulative
PR guy from the studio to get them together for a studio saving press junket
in the middle of nowhere. The couple will have to be seen together, pose together,
and play nice for the nice press people. Lee begs Gwen's assistant, sister in
chains, and all 'round do-girl Kiki (Julia Roberts) to get the high maintenance
Gwen to the Hyatt hideaway in the desert.
Lee pays off Eddie's wellness
guru (Alan Arkin) to convince Eddie he's among the sane again, and off they all
go for a fun filled lithium free weekend of promoting, doting, and gloating.
Oh, the hilarity! Not. But there's more in the comedy slop, er, stew. Seems their
coveted "last" film, Time Over Time, Is being held captive by
its brilliant borderline commitable avante garde director (Christopher Walken-
walking through the role).
what are they going to do? If the press finds out there's no film
Eddie and Gwen are heading to divorce court
. or that there's a funny movie
in the other theater they're outta there! No press is worst than bad press? Never
heard that one...
casting is all off too. Taking the Hollywood's "IT" gals and hodge-podging
them together does not an instant success make...It was hard to believe Catherine
and John as a couple. She is so much more mature. Not old! Mature. He still
has that punk edge. He was wearing black leather pants for criminey sakes, while
Zeta-Jones is elegant in a Bonwit Teller sheik way. And Julia...They stuck a quazi-fat
suit on her for a couple of scenes but left her sterling personality in tact.
So it was hard to buy the overlooked-never-had-a-man -sister routine. Fat folks
get loved too. Please.
Hector's (Azaria) campy exaggerated Spanish
accent was very funny for a a few scenes. But, like the rest of the cookie-cutter
characters these mega-talents impeccably portrayed, he too became a heaping helping
of dullburger helper in a very short while.
Cusack is his adorable, edible self. A tall slice of man I wouldn't mind sautéing
a while on a long summer's eve. He
is a talented fellow, who should return to something dark, or brainy. Remember
Being John Malkovitcabbage? Brilliance.
I love the people in this
movie. I tried to find something. I forced a few laughs, for nostalgia's sake.
I recommend you rent another movie by each cast member and forgo this farce. Maybe
rent it later on, if Gross Pointe Blank, High Fidelity,
Notting Hill, Analyze
This, Traffic, The Impostors, Big Night
or Celebrity are all out at the Blockwood Video.
Runny scrambled eggs