America's Sweethearts (2001)
Main cast: Julia Roberts (Kiki Harrison), Billy Crystal (Lee Phillips), Catherine Zeta-Jones (Gwen Harrison), John Cusack (Eddie Thomas), Hank Azaria (Hector), Stanley Tucci (Dave Kingman), Christopher Walken (Hal Weidmann), Alan Arkin (Wellness Guide), Seth Green (Danny Wax), Scot Zeller (Davis)
Director: Joe Roth


Nothing beats a chick flick who insults chick flick fans as morons, eh? In this movie, Gwen and Eddie are America's sweethearts, a celebrity couple whom fans just cannot help but want more and more of. Even if the movies they act in seem like the dodgy Elizabeth Taylor/Richard Burton wannabe types. But the Sweetheart empire expansion comes to a screeching halt when Gwen and Eddie break up and Gwen falls for a low-class Spanish-stereotype-made-life guy named Hector. And chick flick fans, whom, as we all know are frustrated deluded women with no grasp on reality, stop watching their films. Apparently, they can't see Eddie and Gwen with anyone else on screen.

In comes damage control, in the form of Julia Roberts playing Julia Roberts, sorry, a dowdy ugly duckling named Kiki who works with studio people Lee Phillips, Dave Kingman, and the funny guy Danny to create an illusion of Gwen and Eddie reconciled and together again. Hopefully, this will make the last movie the couple made a smash like the other nine films of theirs. Eddie falls for Kiki, of course, and things get really complicated.

I don't like this show. Normally, Julia Roberts playing dowdy and Billy Crystal in the same movie is my sign to stay far, far away from the theatre. But there's John Cusack and Seth Green, and my eyes are so starved for the sight of two of my favorite screen guys acting fine. Well, Seth Green cracks up a storm here, but I find myself staring at his head. What happened to his hair? John Cusack plays an affable, indecisive dolt, Catherine Zeta-Jones the humorless bitch with a capital B, and Billy Crystal, well, he's Billy Crystal.

Of course, Julia Roberts smiles her ten-zillion voltage smile, but oh, she has to prove to Eddie that she is the woman by the pool (don't ask). She has lost 60 pounds, and now she is beautiful - she is Julia Roberts, so she deserves love, damn it, or she will scream! (She'll scream when the Big And Beautiful Women Train Brigade sit on her stick-thin frame, that irritating "I sure foolya as an ugly duckling, just put drab brown suits on me and some glasses... oh yeah, glasses, because glasses are geeky!" wench.) She still can't act. Best keep that Academy statuette in case you need to hock it one day, Roberts.

But, hey, America's Sweethearts wants to be more than a chick flick. It is, get the dictionary, chick flick fans - cynical. Which means, of course, that women have to lose weight and look like Julia Roberts and still cannot find love unless the man sees sense. But if you look like Catherine Zeta-Jones, it's okay to be a bitch. That's cynical. And I'm cynical because romantic comedy clichés and silly horny animal jokes don't exactly a cynical movie makes. It makes, if you ask me, a pretentious movie that mocks chick flick fans and movies even as it shamelessly sticks to the formula.

Seth Green and Hank Azaria rule. Hopefully John Cusack's upcoming Serendipity will be much better. Hey, it's Julia Roberts-free, so it's a sure bet it will be. I hope.

Rating: 58


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