America's Sweethearts had so much potential. It could have been a really
great satire about Hollywood.
Instead, it turns out to be a merely adequate romantic comedy. Of
course, it does manage to follow the romantic comedy formula to a T, so I guess
it deserves something for that.
Gwen (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and Eddie (John Cusack) were America's
sweethearts. They'd starred in many films together, and were the most beloved
on-and-off-screen couple in the world. But we all know how Hollywood marriages
go, and of course they split up. Now, Gwen is struggling to keep her career
going, and Eddie is off in some sort of inner-peace-finding-cult.
Now, their new movie, and last one together, is about to come out.
They've managed to get legendary director Hal Weidmann (Christopher Walken) to
helm, and it's looking like they can both get their lives back together.
Unfortunately, Hal is holding the film hostage, wanting the press to be the
first to see it. So studio head Dave Kingman (Stanley Tucci) enlists his best
PR man, Lee Phillips (Billy Crystal) to organize the junket. They both feel
that if they can make it look like Gwen and Eddie are getting back together,
the press won't care that there's no film (yet).
Along the way, something happens. Eddie ends up falling in love with
Gwen's sister/assistant Kiki (Julia Roberts), and thus we have the perfect
formula for a romantic comedy.
If the movie had focused more on a behind-the-scenes look at Hollywood,
rather than the romance, it could have been great. Unfortunately, it decides it
wants to take a different direction and ends up falling flat on its face. I
would have expected a much funnier script coming from Crystal and Peter Tolan,
but there are only a few humorous moments.
Really, the only saving grace is the cast. Roberts and Crystal are
perfectly cast, and Crystal even seems like he's playing himself rather than a
character. Zeta-Jones as Gwen is appropriately snobby and helpless, but John
Cusack steals the entire movie. He's definitely a highly underrated actor, and
one of the only reasons to sit through this film.
I would only recommend this movie to hard core romantic comedy or Julia
Roberts fans. Anyone else will undoubtedly be disappointed.
The DVD is pretty poor. The picture (2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen) is
grainy and bland, and the sound (5.1 Dolby Digital) is wasted. The only extras
are some deleted scenes (you can imagine how good scenes deleted from a bad
movie are) and the trailer.
Definitely not worth the price, even for fans of the film.
America's Sweethearts, from Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment
103 minutes, anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) 16X9 enhanced, 5.1 Dolby Digital
Starring Julia Roberts, Billy Crystal, Catherine Zeta-Jones, John Cusack,
Hank Azaria, Stanley Tucci, Seth Green and Christopher Walken
Written by Billy Crystal & Peter Tolan
Produced by Susan Arnold, Donna Arkoff Roth & Billy Crystal
Directed by Joe Roth.
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