Written by Billy Crystal and Peter Tolan
Directed by Joe Roth

Running Time: 1:41

Rated PG-13
for language and some crude and sexual humor

Julia Roberts
as Kiki Harrison

Billy Crystal
as Lee Phillips

John Cusack
as Eddie Thomas

Catherine Zeta-Jones
as Gwen Harrison

Seth Green
as Danny

Hank Azaria
as Hector

Stanley Tucci
as Dave Kingman

Christopher Walken
as Hal

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America's Sweethearts
Double Sided Poster

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Julia Roberts Photos

America's Sweethearts started off strong, and about halfway through started to falter and never really came together at the end, but it was still a fun movie to watch.

Catherine Zeta-Jones and John Cusack star as Gwen and Eddie, America's favorite Hollywood couple. Their movies make millions upon millions of dollars, and everyone loves them. But a year and a half ago Gwen cheated on Eddie, and Eddie went nuts, and since then, their stock has gone down. But with a new movie coming out, they have the chance to get back on top. It's up to PR man extraordinaire Lee Phillips (Billy Crystal) to at least make it look like they're getting back together. Oh yeah, the director is holding the film hostage, so in order to make sure the press is happy, they're invited to a press junket in Las Vegas. All the while Gwen's sister and assistant Kiki (Julia Roberts) is trying to keep Gwen happy, while searching for happiness herself.

So the basic plot isn't very original. It's not like it's a surprise that Eddie and Kiki end up happily ever after at the end. It's how the plot is put together that's somewhat different, using a Hollywood press junket at the main attraction. Now I've never been to one of these types of press junkets before. I've been to a couple of screenings, and sat in on an interview or two, but nothing as glamorous as a free weekend in a posh hotel in Vegas. I am however very willing to go to one of these things, and would be willing to say anything the studio wanted me to. I mean anything. Ahem. All that aside, I thought it was a nice look inside what a press junket it, even if some of what went on wasn't true to form. I don't think a major motion picture star would joke about having a threesome with his estranged wife and her new lover, although I think it would be rather funny if Tom Cruise said that at some point.

What I enjoyed most about the film was the supporting cast. Stanley Tucci as the harried studio boss trying to see his $86 million picture before the press does. Seth Green as the PR man in training, learning from the best. Alan Arkin as the mystical Svengali that Eddie goes to after his breakdown. Hank Azaria as Gwen's new lover. And Christopher Walken as Hal, the strange director of the movie within a movie. All of them shined in their smaller roles, most of the time stealing the screen from the major stars.

It's not as if the major stars weren't good, there just wasn't anything special about their roles. Julia playing the ugly duckling to her beautiful sister, then coming out of the shadows and into the limelight. Catherine playing a Diva movie star who only thinks about herself and her image. John Cusack playing a man slightly deranged, only to find love in the one place he wasn't looking. And Billy Crystal as the wise-cracking do it all man trying to get a couple together. Nothing we haven't seen before from these people, but at the same time it works because you get the feeling that's how they all are in real life. At least I do.

There was some downtime in the film. It started off strong, but about halfway through it started to slow down and go down the same path most movies like this do. Like I said before, the plot was fairly run of the mill, and you knew from the moment you took your seat how it was going to turn out. I must say I did like the opening movie sendups that they used, and the finished product that Hal finally showed the world was rather funny.

So overall America's Sweethearts was a good movie. Not as strong as it could have been with what they had to work with, but fun enough to watch on a big screen. The supporting cast really stood out, and the main cast was typecast, but in a good way. And if anyone important is reading this, feel free to contact me about going to Vegas for your next press junket. Or Peoria. Wherever.

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reviewed 07/22/01

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