[MOVIE REVIEW]Hollywood Behaving Badly

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[MOVIE REVIEW]Hollywood Behaving Badly

In a big surprise, Julia Roberts is not one of the sweethearts promised in the title of this film. Instead, Catherine Zeta-Jones as Gwen and John Cusack as Eddie star as the most glittering star couple in Hollywood - or they at least used to be. What about Roberts? She plays Kiki, an all-too-dedicated and efficient personal assistant to her sister Gwen. But although they are sisters, Kiki is sick and tired of being treated like a slave by her selfish sister.

Gwen decides to end her marriage after falling for a cheesy Spanish actor. But America is not so ready to let the marriage go. When Gwen guests on Larry King Live, she is bombarded with angry listeners. Although their relationship is ending, Gwen and Eddie have one more movie they made together that they must promote.

Lee Philips (Billy Crystal), a legendary press agent, needs to come up with a plan to make the couple look happy to ensure that promotion, and therefore the film, is successful.

The film spends a lot of energy on a behind-the-scenes depiction of the Hollywood movie industry. Crystal cuts deep in his portrayal of Lee, ready to take advantage of Eddie's suicide attempt as an advertisement ploy. To ensure a successful press junket, Lee splurges on giving luxurious bags as gifts for the press, and prepares everything perfectly. The only thing he did not prepare for is a director who refuses to compromise his artistic vision, wanting his film to be honest and substantial.

With such a wealth of material to be mined, the broad and over-the-top portrayal of Hollywood was rather disappointing. Cusack is solid, but we usually expect so much more from him than just okay, and Zeta-Jones contributes little to the film. Only Crystal and Roberts perform up to standards. Roberts was indeed brave to present such an unattractive version of herself, 60 pounds heavier than usual in some scenes (her weight loss is part of the plot), poorly dressed and wearing ugly glasses.

To be released Friday in Korea, "America's Sweethearts" is watchable, but not much more or maybe good enough for whiling away a rainy afternoon.

The film stars four of the hottest actors today, but they do not elevate the production. And by halfway through the film, Zeta-Jones's grumbling voice begins to grate. Kudos to Michael Douglas for being able to stand it.

by Chun Su-jin

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