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America's Sweethearts (2001)
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Review Date: July 16, 2001
Director: Joe Roth
Writer: Billy Crystal, Peter Tolan
Producers: Billy Crystal, Susan Arnold, Donna Roth
Actors:
Catherine Zeta-Jones
John Cusack
Julia Roberts
Plot:
A separated, glamorous, Hollywood couple must pretend to reunite for a press junket of the last movie that they ever shot together. Kewl...now I only wish that I could pretend never to have seen this movie...
Critique:
Trite, unfunny, boring and a waste of everyone's talent. How a premise with such zest and bite can turn into a movie that doesn't feature any chemistry, any real laughs, any surprises or any spice is beyond me. How Julia Roberts is used solely as a "puppy dog" character, puttering around in the background while we endure the complete bitchiness of Zeta-Jones' character, who is not one bit funny or romantic (two ideal ingredients in a "romantic comedy"), is also beyond me. And why they chose John Cusack, a great, quirky actor in his own right, to play the most bland, uninteresting and unfetching character (with zero chemistry with either of his leads) is further more, beyond me. And to anybody who decided that this project was "funny" enough to greenlight featuring the talents mentioned above, along with Billy Crystal, Christopher Walker, Seth Green and Stanley Tucci...well, what can I say...I just don't have the words. So is this the worst movie that I've seen all year? No. But it definitely sucks and it's basically because...well, it's just not funny. And for the record, allow me to state a few more problems with it. It starts off slow, it's got no energy, it doesn't engage you with any of its characters (Julia barely gets somewhat interesting in the film, everyone else...lame!), it utilizes way too many flashbacks to move the story forward, it's utterly predictable, standard, routine, see-through and uninteresting as a plot and it just sits there on the screen, big and ugly, waiting...waiting for you to laugh or find something in it that is amusing.

And then Hank Azaria shows up...aaaaaah, the film's savior (mind you, some might be offended by his exaggeration of a stereotype, but that's another story altogether). But when an experienced "voice" actor upstages all of the main stars in a summer "blockbuster" romantic comedy with an over-the-top Antonio Banderas accent, damn dude...your film's in trouble!! Rent this movie on video just to see what went wrong yourself. The references to Ricky Ricardo and Senor Wences (huh!?), the idio-plot points like when one of the characters goes on the roof to stretch his arms out and relax, but everyone believes that he's going to kill himself (hardy-har-har) and the cheap way of getting the audience to leave the theater laughing by bringing back a ball-sniffing dog that has no place being in the location at the end of the movie, well...I could go on. But I won't because I do still respect all of the actors in this film and actually did laugh at Azaria, Green and Tucci's antics from time to time (ironic, eh...what about the leads, dammit!) and liked the premise behind the film (before I saw the finished product, of course). A dud all the way around.

BTW, all the talk about this film was that Julia Roberts was to be in a fat suit for one scene (her character is supposed to have lost 60 pounds), so when the scene finally came, I did get a little excited about what it might look like and then...well, it basically just looked like Julia Roberts in a fat suit! Ugh. I think I'm gonna start drinking again after this lame-ass movie. C'mon Hollywood, enough with the crud!
(c) 2017 Berge Garabedian
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