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America's Sweethearts

ShrekHollywood's typical romantic comedy is relatively easy to make. No fancy computer animation is required. No big explosions. No car chases. All the genre needs are two stars, who could make us believe in two hours or less that they are in love or meant for each other. The comedy takes a backseat but is a definite plus.

America's Sweethearts at the surface and on the trailer seems to have the requisites. Julia Roberts alone guarantees an experience somewhere between the fairy tale romance of Notting Hill and comic predicament of My Best Friend's Wedding. Billy Crystal, partly responsible for the unforgettable Forget Paris and When Harry Met Sally, can be more than a comic relief for the movie. Catherine Zeta Jones, John Cusack and Christopher Walken make the cast star-studded and should make the movie a winner.

Halfway through the movie I hardly felt it was a winner. I stopped the VCD player and played NBA 2K2 instead. It was that bad. Two days later, without anything better to do, and without thinking I continued watching hoping that towards the end it would get better. It did not.

The problem with America's Sweethearts is its lack of focus. Supposedly the love team is Julia Roberts and John Cusack. Through most of the movie however the focus is on former sweethearts Cusack and Zeta Jones. The movie tries to enamour with their former on-screen romance and gives hope that somehow they would get back together. Anyone who has seen the trailer knows they won't.

Julia Roberts is placed in the sidelines until near the end where Cusack suddenly realizes he is in love with her only after they had sex. Where is the romance in that?

At least the comedy is better than the romance or lack of it. Billy Crystal is funny all throughout and so is Catherine Zeta Jones, which is a pleasant surprise.

As a comedy America's Sweethearts is not bad. As a romantic comedy, it's terrible.

October 2001


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