ninth symphony films - movie reviews


DIRECTOR  -  joe roth

RATED  -  pg-13

GENRE  -  romantic comedy

LENGTH  -  102 minutes

RELEASED  -  20 june 2001

DISTRIBUTOR  -  columbia pictures

OFFICIAL SITE  -  sweethearts

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $46,000,000
america's sweethearts - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from america's sweethearts at

buy the dvd from america's sweethearts at

a movie publicist deals with the messy public split of his movie's co-stars.

the character of hal weidmann is based on hal ashby.


picture from america's sweethearts

picture from america's sweethearts


two out of four possible stars

This movie is like a train wreck of two different genres that just don't mix. Remember when all your friends told you not to mix beer and wine? Well, Billy Crystal should have realized that mixing a love story and a farce together doesn't really work all that well. What crystal and his writing partner, Peter Tolan have done is create a story that tries to let the public in on the farce-like atmosphere of hollywood. They then litter it with big Hollywood stars and throw in a weak and unconvincing love story and call it a movie.

The best movie stars in the world can't make a faulty script right. And this script has lots of problems. First of all, the film starts out with a slightly comical satyre on modern hollywood with Billy Crystal and a few other hollywood notables. But it's really not that funny. There were a few inside jokes that got a few laughs from the audience. But it wasn't really that innovative or really funny, say like in The Player, which had enough "in" jokes to be funny for the Hollywood crowd, but enough insight into the film industry to keep anybody laughing. Strangly, in this film, the jokes just aren't that funny.

In fact, they're kind of lame and verge on toilet humor sometimes. For example, there's this scene where Billy Crystal gets friendly with Catherine Zeta Jones's pet dog. It's not really funny to begin with, but it just goes on and on and on and just gets old. And this same scene is played out later in the movie as well. Now perhaps this was funny for about 2 seconds, but after 30 seconds, it just was boring. Maybe it would have been more interesting if the title of this film was "toilet humor."

Although the cast for this film was good, they didn't add up to a great film. It's just a case of a great cast being unable to make a bad script good. And that's too bad, because the concept is and interesting one. But the love story between John Cusack and Julia Roberts, which is one of the main elements of the movie, is not always believable. They don't have a lot of chemistry together. And the story between them just wasn't developed enough.

It's as if Julia comes back a thin person (she used to be fat in the story) and John throws her into the sack and they sleep together after about 24 hours. And then the next day he's suddenly in love with her, when, for the last six months all he wanted was his estranged wife and Julia's sister, played by Catherine Zeta Jones. It's like the romance comes out of nowhere. And it's fine that the two fall in love, but aside from a short dinner and a roll in the hay, there's not enough time for a romance to be believable. Julia's character is already in love with John's from the beginning, but his love just blossoms out of nowhere.

The advertising campaign for this film is also a little deceptive. Billy Crystal's is featured throughout much of the trailer, but is featured only about 20% of the time in the actual film. And his character is not that interesting either. He's only mildly funny as the promotions director for the film that John and Catherine's characters have made. His jokes are entertaining for a while, but his comedy just doesn't mix with the rest of the cast. He's got this dry, subtle humor that none of the other actors have. And while it might be interesting to have many types of actors in a film, Crystal just seemed out of place.

Looked at separately, the elements of this film look to be pretty appealing, but when they're slammed together, they just don't make sense. Unlike some films that try (many times successfully) to combine a drama element with a comedic element, this film tries to take two genres that are hard to match and throw them into the same pool. Perhaps if one of the elements had taken a back seat to the other, the story would have been more believable. But neither the farce, nor the love story is really taken seriously.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

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