America’s Sweethearts (2001)

“America’s Sweethearts” (2001)



bogus fake lives

There is a common cliché in film commenting, usually by average viewers, the target audiences for films such as this, which goes like: it’s good to watch because it allows me not to think and to forget the real world. Something like that. This is a bogus, of course. No one who thinks will stop thinking in front of some unchallenging piece of entertainment, like this film, and those who usually aren’t accustomed to question things, won’t do it, no matter what film you place in front of them. But i understand the meaning of the concept of “not thinking”, and this film has a gold place in the (huge) warehouse of films designed not to be interesting, merely entertain. That’s because if the makers of it didn’t place interesting leads for us to follow, there’s nothing to follow.

Well, even in the worst swamps we have some flowers growing, so there are two things i point out here:

One is John Cusack. The guy is good, and brings something fresh even to worn out roles like this one. He has a strange way to place himself in between the narrative in the film and us, audiences. Is neither a real life person (like us, as viewers) nor a film integrated character. Instead it seems like he a kind of David Attenborough of cinema, someone who is in the action scene, but comfortably protected by some bushes, while commenting on the dangerous lions meal. He is great.

Taking this Cusack situation, i think we have the core of this film. We have 2 plus 2 characters swinging all the time between two distinct realities in the film: that of stardom, and that of the “real life” in the film. Absolutely everything, every joke, every romance bit, every discussion, every plot point swings around the idea that famous actors like Cusack and Zeta Jones’ characters have two faces, two lives; one that shows to the whole world, shiny and brilliant, and the reality of boring, unhappy and unfit lives. In the end Zeta Jones sticks to the fake reality of fame, and that’s why she stays with the Spanish equally fake character; and Cusack stays with Julia Roberts’ character, someone who live in the shadow of stardom all her life, watching and living star environments all the way without ever becoming part of it. There’s a public venue where all the assumptions (by the public in the film and the characters) take place. That’s a golden rule of date films.

So, the way i see it, we have this: the “real” life of Jones and Cusack’s characters is to their star profile, in the film, as this film is to real interesting cinematic ideas. Dull, boring, empty, trying to look bright, shiny and appealing. But hey, this entertains, and even if you start thinking about it, you won’t take much out of it, so i suppose it completes its purposes.

My opinion: 1/5

This comment on IMDb


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