Retro Review: America’s Sweethearts

Hollywood tries really hard to drop Julia Roberts into a non-lead role with “America’s Sweethearts” but it’s her “uncanny” charisma and blinding smile that seems to vaporize the idea that she isn’t the star of this picture. This little idea is the central casting focus of her latest comedy.

Ms. Roberts plays Kiki Harrison, the sister of world famous actress Gwen Harrison (Catherine Zeta Jones). Kiki is the complete opposite to her spoiled mega-movie-star sister. Kiki seems to be thrown to the wolves when she has to reunite Gwen with her old love, Eddie Thomas (John Cusack) for a critical media junket to promote Eddie and Gwen’s last film together.

The pitfalls in Kiki and the film’s publicist’s (Billy Crystal) way are that Gwen has shacked up with another guy, Eddie has suffered a nervous-breakdown and nobody even knows what the their last film looks like.

I liked “America’s Sweethearts” for its bravery in poking fun at the press and the film business. Unlike a lot of films that make fun of the business, Sweethearts has a heart and really never takes it self to seriously. There are a lot of inside jokes that made me smile as the filmmakers really made a complete and utter farce.

I loved the performances of Julia and Catherine as they seemed to embody their characters and really know how they tick.

Cusack seemed to reliving his character from “High Fidelity” as he does what he can to forget another lost love. Poor Cusack seems to be type-casted so much.

The biggest surprise was the cameo of Alan Arkin as John Cusack’s recovery guru. I loved Arkin in that role.

The most annoying of the cast was the awful Hank Azaria as Jones’ Latin lover. Why, oh god, didn’t they cast a real Latin actor? I mean like an Antonio Banderas, or a Benjamin Bratt. My perfect casting in that role would have been “Suddenly Susan’s” Nestor Carbonell as Hector. Carbonell played the accent they needed for Hector during 3 ½ seasons of Susan. Just an idea.

I found when I was watching this film I was reminded of the humor of “Analyze This” and the sweet tenderness of “Notting Hill”.

The reason for this I believe is that the film’s jokes and humor are very much vintage Crystal. Crystal co-wrote the film with “Analyze This” scribe Peter Tolan. The way the film spread out its music reminded of Notting Hill. Interesting how you pick these things out.

The film clips from the supposed films the characters worked were hysterical. The satirical humor did allow the film to build up the eventual junket into something very much a Hollywood-ization.

Questions left lingering in my mind center upon the break-up of Jones’ and Cusack. Why in the world did Jones’ cheat on Cusuack with such a moron? I mean if he was at least appealing on some level I may have bought it. Did I miss something?

(3 out of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer.

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