US, 2001, 102 minutes, Colour.,
Julia Roberts, Billy Crystal, Catherine Zeta- Jones, John Cusack, Hank Azaria, Stanley Tucci, Christopher Walken, Alan Arkin, Seth Green, Larry King.
Directed by Joe Roth.
America’s Sweethearts is a lighthearted light confection. It has a Hollywood focus.
Catherine Zeta- Jones and John Cusack are a couple who are the public’s favourite on-screen couple. We see glimpses of their films together. However, the wife is entangled with a Latin lover and the actor is still pining after his wife’s sister whom he has always loved. The Latin is played by Hank Azaria and the sister by Julia Roberts.
The film offers comedy at the expense of Hollywood – Stanley Tucci as an anxious director, Christopher Walken as a mad director who has the only print of his film and wants it screened for the public. Supporting cast includes Alan Arkin and Seth Green.
The film has a touch of the farcical about it – but it is much more gentle and humorous. The two actresses are strong screen presences. John Cusack is usually bemused. The supporting cast is very good. The film was co-written by Billy Crystal who also appears as a harassed publicist.
The film was directed by producer Joe Roth who has directed six films – with something of a range from Revenge of the Nerds 2 to Christmas with the Kranks and the thriller Freedomland.
1.The appeal of a Hollywood comedy? Comedy about Hollywood? The satiric touches? The parody of films, directors and producers, publicists, stars? The film as a romance?
2.The Hollywood settings, the atmosphere of the studios, agents’ offices, desperate producers, mad directors? The psychological dimensions? The lavish hotel, the resort? The musical score?
3.The focus on fans, their expectations, the adulation of the couple, the role of the press, the paparazzi, the press junkets, the favours to the press, the producers using the press? The pressure on the stars, their consent, their behaviour, the intrusion on their private lives?
4.Gwen and Eddie as the romantic couple, America’s sweethearts? The clips and the light touches and satiric touches on the films? The romance? Time Over Time? The Hollywood machine, the promotion? In themselves, as characters, the press conferences? The professional brave face clichés? Gwen and her glamour? Self-centredness? Domination? Eddie and his moodiness, the hangdog look, pining for Gwen?
5.Eddie and Gwen together, Gwen and the film, her relationship with Hector, romance, whim? Her treatment of other people? Her sister? The contrast with Eddie, his being besotted with his wife? His meeting Kiki, their past, memories, the apology? Falling in love with her again? At her beck and call? At Gwen’s beck and call?
6.Gwen, Catherine Zeta- Jones, her glamour, selfishness, her behaviour, her whims? Kiki as her manager, as a sister, as taking her for granted? The past, school, excuses? Gwen with Lee, persuasion, the issues first or second, the car arrivals, the press? Her tantrums, the night, the rendezvous? The dinner, the fight? Divorce papers? The clash with Hector?
7.Eddie, the psychiatrist, his breakdown, the crash, the restaurant? Lee and the pressure? The issues of the arrival of the cars? Priority of who was first or second? Dealing with the press? His room, the encounters with Kiki? The cactus and the video? The television? With Gwen? The jokes, the dinner and Kiki and the behaviour, fighting with Hector, the memories, the irony that he saw Kiki and not Gwen? The breakfast? Going to Gwen?
8.Julia Roberts as Kiki? The past, fat, glasses? The past, the relationship with Eddie, her being subservient to Gwen? Gwen using her, dominating her? Gwen having everything? Lee, friendship, his powers of persuasion? With Eddie, the stand-in, the night, the breakfast? The walk? Standing by the pool? The clashes? The touch of gluttony?
9.The producer, lacking in conscience, his assistant kowtowing to him? His desperation about the film, about the actors? Producer’s behaviour?
10.Christopher Walken’s manic cameo as the director, his film, his treatment of the cast, taking the copy, making the producer desperate, wanting the film shown to the press? The satire on the manic director?
11.Lee, his assistant, the publicist, working at the deals? Satisfying the whims? Seeing each of the actors, priorities, the cars? His manipulation and soothing? Dealing with the media, the fights? With the producer? The dog?
12.The film, the revelation?
13.Kiki and Eddie getting together, a happy ending for them?
14.The blend of the satiric as well as the romantic and the overall effect and entertainment value?