America's Sweethearts Joe Roth
Published Jul 01, 2001Gwen Harrison and Eddie Thomas are Hollywood's most beloved on and off-screen couple, but after Eddie (John Cusack) catches Gwen (the stunning Catherine Zeta-Jones) with another man he flips out and attempts to run her over with his motorcycle. "America's Sweethearts" are no more, and after Gwen's last two films without her romantic counterpart tank at the box office, it's time to salvage some careers and rekindle the couple's flame. The last film Eddie and Gwen filmed together is being held tightly by a visionary, yet slightly insane, director played very briefly to perfection by Christopher Walken. The studio and the media don't get to see the movie until the press junket, so it's up to Gwen's sister, Kiki (Julia Roberts) and press agent, Lee (Billy Crystal, who also penned the script) to muster up as much media attention as possible. Thank goodness the way they create a media stir is by any means necessary, including restaurant fistfights and late night scandals. Had everyone tried to paint a picture of romantic bliss between Hollywood's leading couple, then "America's Sweethearts" would have been dreadfully sappy.
The refreshing thing about this film is the fact that the script is not dumbed-down and appeals to an audience that craves something more than cheap shots and the standard gross-out formula that's stinking up the big screen. Without a doubt, veteran actors such as Julia Roberts and John Cusack give great performances, and it seems that no one really has top-billing, for everyone tends to share the same amount of screen time. Hank Azaria also makes an appearance as Hector, the new man in Gwen's life complete with an over-the-top and rather hilarious accent. But what else would you expect from the voice of Chief Wiggum and Apu from "The Simpsons"?
The story isn't hard to follow and it's a given that the audience will know where everyone's going to wind up in the end. Sometimes the film even comes across as cheesy with all the romantic possibilities covered, but if you look at this as taking note from Gwen and Eddie's past film catalogue, then you can stop rolling your eyes and have fun with it. "America's Sweethearts" is definitely one of the highlights in a less-than-impressive year for film.