When Eddie met Gwen
America's Sweethearts
Review by Ross Anthony

"When you and Gwen are together, the press forgets that there's no film." Billy Crystal pleads with Eddie (Cusack) to join his (Eddie's) estranged wife despite their stormy break up in order to promote their latest mutual film project (which has been taken hostage by deranged director Christopher Walken).

Gwen (Zeta-Jones) left Eddie for "the Spaniard" (Azaria - though the part begged for Banderas) sending Eddie into a crazed psychotic state. Veteran press agent, Lee (Crystal) has his work cut out for him ... he knows when to smile, lie, get the photo, while in some sick way remaining loyal to his actor/friend's underlying needs.

"Autumn with Greg and Peg" and other soapy hokie Hollywood romantic films spoof across the screen, jogging every funny bone in the audience. It's a delightful way to start this near-farce. These film segments are tongue-in-cheek, over-acted, and even over-photographed (in one over-the-top hilarious courtroom drama cut). That spinning camera shot propels the viewer into the main body of the film, where unfortunately the momentum dissipates. A shooting star with premature cessation.

From there the picture ping pongs about without much forward progression. Still, Billy Crystal's diehard enthusiasm, Cusack's wonderfully demented character, Zeta-Jones' appalling selfishness, and Roberts' sweet acting make "America's Sweethearts" somehow amusing even while marching in place. Roberts plays Gwen's publicist/agent sister who's just lost 60 pounds. (Though the film hosts a wonderful flashback of a much heavier Julia that's sure to tickle her fans, they may be just a tad disappointed at her less than leading role.)

A couple of strong, chest-jerking direct lines of dialogue break through most of the smirking b.s.; these commanding truthes kick the ball up and rolling again as the film rounds toward climax.

With so much to say and show, and so many talented performers and writers, "America's Sweethearts" certainly has its share of memorable funny moments.

Writer/Producer Crystal says of the film, "A scenario happens similar to when Liz Taylor left Eddie Fisher on 'Cleopatra' and ran off with Richard Burton."

  • America's Sweethearts. Copyright © 2001. Rated PG-13.
  • Starring Billy Crystal, Catherine Zeta-Jones, John Cusack, Julia Roberts, Hank Azaria, Stanley Tucci, Christopher Walken, Alan Arkin.
  • Directed by Joe Roth.
  • Written by Billy Crystal and Peter Tolan.
  • Produced by Billy, Susan Arnold and Donna Arkoff Roth at Columbia/Rebolution.


Copyright © 2001. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit: RossAnthony.com

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:21:20 PDT