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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

America's Sweethearts (Released in 2001) - Starring Julia Roberts, Billy Crystal, John Cusack and Catherine Zeta-Jones

Directed by Joe Roth, America’s Sweetheart is a romantic comedy which feels like a recycled version of the 1952 hit – Singin’ in the Rain. The movie isn’t all bad, but since it has taken its inspiration from a classic, it falls short in comparison. Where Singin’ in the Rain was an effortless comedy, America’s Sweethearts lacks conviction and confidence. It side steps from cynicism and comedy, and attempts to give insights and truth.
With that said, one must applaud the acting skills of all the actors. Kiki and Gwen (played by Julia Roberts and Catherine Zita-Jones respectively) are shown to be sisters. Where Kiki is dumpy and overweight, Gwen is a Hollywood actress. Kiki has always played second fiddle to Gwen by being her assistant. The film is about movie publicist Lee Phillips (played by Billy Crystal) trying desperately to organize a press conference for a movie directed by the eccentric Hal Weidmann (played by Christopher Walker) who has refused to show Lee a single shot of the film, claiming he will do so directly at the Press Junket. The actors of this movie included Gwen and her now estranged partner Eddie.
With no idea what the movie is about, Lee sets out trying to reconcile Gwen and Eddie so that they attend the Junket and he can focus the conference on them rather than the movie. He tries to convince both to attend, which isn’t an easy task, considering the reason they hate each other is that Gwen was having an affair with Hector (played by Azaria) and Eddie has an emotional breakdown when he realizes this, thus landing himself in a “retreat”.

Finally when the two do agree to attend the Junket, what ensues is confusion and drama. Gwen forces Kiki to be the intermediary between herself and Eddie. Kiki is attracted to Eddie, and when Eddie sees how much weight Kiki has lost and how lovely she now looks, he takes to her. Eventually he realizes that it is Kiki and not Gwen who he has loved always.
Realizing this Lee tells Eddie to go ahead and tell Kiki, and end his relationship with Gwen. When Gwen finds out she tries to save her pride and career by manipulating Kiki and Eddie. However, Eddie sees through her behavior. Amidst all this, the mysterious movie directed by Weidmann is aired at the Junket and everyone realizes that the movie isn’t a movie but a reality film. In the film, Gwen is seen as a conniving manipulative selfish person who is having an affair with Hector. Eddie is the nice guy who starts getting paranoid about his wife.
Gwen is livid at this reality movie and tries to salvage what little pride she has left by announcing that she and Eddie are reconciling. However, Eddie stands up and declares his love for Kiki, who also stands up against her sister. The end is a bit feeble, with Eddie and Kiki leaving together after Kiki has been fired by Gwen, and Gwen trying to put up a brave front.
With a great star cast and amazing acting skills presented by each of them, where the story falls short is the storyline and screenplay which is all over the place. The end could and should have been rewritten. There are some amazing scenes. But they feel a little forced when you watch the movie as a whole.

America's Sweethearts (Released in 2001) - Starring Julia Roberts, Billy Crystal, John Cusack and Catherine Zeta-Jones

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