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America's Sweethearts

FILMS that turn the cameras back onto Hollywood are invariably hit-and-miss affairs.

America's Sweethearts

FILMS that turn the cameras back onto Hollywood are invariably hit-and-miss affairs.

The latest - America's Sweethearts - promises so much but delivers little of any real merit because it cannot decide what it wants to be - a comedy or a love story.

The all-star cast are some of Tinsel Town's top names and they try their hardest to please but they simply do not gel.

Gags are never really developed and the characters do not exactly endear themselves to the viewer.

Billy Crystal not only stars as cynical press agent, Lee Phillips, but he also wrote the screenplay along with Peter Tolan.

But the end result does not work successfully or cohesively. There are some amusing smile-inducing moments but nothing of the belly-laugh variety.

It focuses on a love-triangle. Top movie couple Eddie Thomas (John Cusack), Gwen Harrison (Catherine Zeta Jones) and Kiki, Gwen' sister and dresser (Julia Roberts).

Eddie and Gwen made their name as soapy superstars - on and off screen - loved by the box office until their marriage collapsed. She ran off with a Spanish co-star called Hector.

Eddie went off the rails when he tried to mow down the two timing couple in a Chinese Restaurantcrashing through the window on his motorcycle. One of the few highlights of the film.

The studio bosses know they have a real marketing problem. They need the two-some back together to promote their last film because he public like romance.

But there's Gwen's ugly duckling-turned-swan Kiki on the scene.

Julia Roberts effortlessly plays Gwen's long-suffering personal assistant and who has always had more than a crush on Eddie following a one-night stand.

Reluctantly, all agree to help push the film Time after Time - a space epic directed by eccentric director Hal Weidmann (Christopher Walken).

The critics are taking for a press junket in a luxury hotel somewhere in the Nevada Desert (if only icLiverpool reviewers could be sent on such trips).

Mr Walden, playing the dishevelled director, is wasted in a silly role. Instead of delivering a sci-fi classic the daft director decides to make a fly-on-the-wall of his actors making a film.

This is where it all descends into farce and a very unfunny farce.

Cusack again does his Dustin Hoffman neurotic character; Zeta Jones is icy cool and beautiful but little else and obviously Julia Roberts is going to get her man in the end.

America's Sweethearts is 'nice work if you can get it' for its stars but a let-down if you thought it would be a modern day version of those Cary Grant screwball comedies. It's a poor man's version of Notting Hill.

Seeing more of Billy Crystal would have helped and they should have deleted a few tasteless jokes which would have worked better in American Pie.


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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