America's Sweethearts theatrical poster
|Directed by||Joe Roth|
|Produced by||Billy Crystal
|Written by||Billy Crystal
|Music by||James Newton Howard|
|Cinematography||Phedon Papamichael Jr.|
|Edited by||Stephen A. Rotter|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Running time||102 min.|
America's Sweethearts is a 2001 romantic comedy film directed by Joe Roth and written by Billy Crystal and Peter Tolan. It stars Julia Roberts, Billy Crystal, John Cusack and Catherine Zeta-Jones, with Hank Azaria, Stanley Tucci, Seth Green, Alan Arkin and Christopher Walken in smaller roles.
Lee Phillips (Crystal) is a movie publicist tasked with promoting a film featuring movie stars Gwen Harrison (Zeta-Jones) and Eddie Thomas (Cusack). His job is complicated by the fact that the eccentric director of the film, Hal Weidmann (Walken), refuses to show him a cut of the film and demands the first viewing take place at a press junket. To promote the film, Lee decides to focus on the two stars: Gwen and Eddie, once known as "America's Sweethearts". Unfortunately, they are now going through an ugly split. As a result of Gwen's affair with Hector (Azaria), Eddie has an emotional breakdown and is at a New Age retreat. Lee decides that his best chance to promote the film is to reunite the couple.
He tries to get them to attend the junket, playing on Gwen's ego by telling her she will look better to the press and her fans if she attends (and she will be able to serve Eddie with divorce papers). Lee bribes the retreat owner with a car to convince Eddie to come. Gwen's sister and personal assistant, Kiki (Roberts), and Gwen's lover (Hector) are also involved; although Eddie always liked Kiki, when he sees her at the junket she has lost weight and is now physically attractive.
As the junket begins, Eddie and Gwen are forced together and Gwen encourages Kiki to be her go-between with Eddie. Eddie and Kiki begin to warm to each other. At first, Gwen is oblivious, but eventually discovers Kiki's feelings for Eddie. Out of her own desire to maintain her career by convincing the press that they are trying to reconcile, Gwen tries to prevent a blossoming relationship between Kiki and Eddie with her manipulation. However, Eddie is the only one who sees past Gwen's lies and admits to Lee that he's in love with Kiki. Realizing this, Lee encourages Eddie to tell Kiki and end his marriage with Gwen anyway.
When the film is shown, the press, cast and crew discover that Weidmann junked the script; he made a "reality movie", composed of footage shot making the film (most without the actors' knowledge). The footage shows Gwen as self-centered, conniving and manipulative; Eddie is seen as a decent man who becomes paranoid as he begins to suspect that his wife is having an affair. Gwen and Hector are the antagonists, and Eddie the protagonist of the story. The cast and crew are offended by the direction that Weidmann went with instead of sticking to the movie script. Eddie is the only cast member pleased with Weidmann's direction and wants to work with him again. Because of praise from the press, the studio is forced to release the film (Weidmann's plan all along, this include ruining Gwen's career).
Gwen tries to salvage the situation by announcing that she is reconciling with Eddie. However, Eddie declares his love for Kiki and admits his relationship to Gwen was a mistake. Kiki reciprocates and stands up to Gwen for the first time. Kiki is fired by Gwen when she reveals dirty secrets about Gwen while they were growing up that even the press, the cast and crew who watched the "reality movie" didn't know about. After the junket, Kiki and Eddie prepare to leave the hotel together. Gwen admits to the press that she and Eddie are through, and she is in love with Hector. However, their relationship is seen to be disintegrating after Hector overheard Gwen insulting him in the film.
- Julia Roberts as Kathleen "Kiki" Harrison
- Billy Crystal as Lee Phillips
- Catherine Zeta-Jones as Gwen Harrison
- John Cusack as Eddie Thomas
- Hank Azaria as Hector Gorgonzolas
- Stanley Tucci as Dave Kingman
- Christopher Walken as Hal Weidmann
- Alan Arkin as wellness guide
- Seth Green as Danny Wax
- Scot Zeller as Davis
- Larry King as himself
- Steve Pink as limo driver
- Rainn Wilson as Dave O'Hanlon
- Eric Balfour as security guard
- Marty Belafsky as security guard
- Keri Lynn Pratt as Leaf Weidmann
- María Canals Barrera as Adinah
- Byron Allen as himself
- Emma Roberts uncredited cameo
Reviews for America's Sweethearts were generally unfavorable, and the film has a 31-percent approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus was, "Despite its famous cast, the movie lacks sympathetic characters and is only funny in spurts."