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.|
|Editing 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, starring Julia Roberts, Billy Crystal, John Cusack, and Catherine Zeta-Jones. The film also stars Hank Azaria, Stanley Tucci, Seth Green, Alan Arkin, and Christopher Walken, and features a cameo appearance by Larry King as himself. It was written by Crystal and Peter Tolan.
Lee Phillips (Crystal) is a movie publicist with a major problem with movie stars Gwen Harrison (Zeta-Jones) and Eddie Thomas (Cusack). The once golden Hollywood duo formerly known as "America's Sweethearts" is now split, due to Gwen's affair, which has caused Eddie to have a nervous breakdown. While Gwen is shacked up with Hector (Azaria), Eddie has holed up in a New Age retreat. The eccentric director of the estranged couple's last movie, Hal Weidmann (Walken), has demanded that the first viewing of the film be at a press junket although no one has seen it. To sell the film (since he has not seen it to be able to do his job properly), Lee has decided to get the two back together and sell them as a couple.
Both Gwen and Eddie are manipulated into attending the junket: Gwen's ego is massaged into going so she looks better to the press and her fans (as well as being able to present Eddie with divorce papers). Lee gives the owner of the retreat a very expensive car in return for convincing Eddie that he should leave. Once there, Gwen immediately plays the martyr and Eddie's delicate psyche is put to the test in the outside world. Complicating matters are both Gwen's personal assistant and sister, Kiki (Roberts), and Hector, who is overly watchful of his love. Though Kiki has always been in Gwen's shadow, Eddie finds himself drawn to her. However, upon their arrival at the junket, Eddie discovers Kiki is no longer the wallflower, having lost a considerable amount of weight.
As the junket begins, Eddie and Gwen are thrown together although neither wants anything to do with the film or each other. As in high school (and most of her life), Kiki is forced to be the one who does Gwen's dirty work. However, this puts her in Eddie's company quite often and the spark that has always been between them continues to grow. Gwen is oblivious to their attraction but still refuses to be outshone by anyone, least of all her own sister.
When the movie is finally shown at the press junket, the press, actors and others involved in the film discover, to their dismay, that Weidmann essentially junked the script and instead delivered a movie composed of footage shot making the movie - much taken without the actors' knowledge. Essentially, Weidmann delivered Hollywood's first "Reality Movie". The footage shows Gwen as self-centered, conniving and manipulative and Eddie as a decent man becoming increasingly paranoid as he (correctly) suspects his wife is having an affair. Eddie, however, is the only cast member who is pleased with Weidmann's direction, and because of the favorable support from the press, forcing the studio to release the film despite being against it (which is what Weidmann had planned all along). It is implied that the movie will revive Eddie's acting career but ruin Gwen's, and the studio would face a lawsuit from the latter. In one scene of the reality movie, the viewers there are treated to Gwen complaining about the small size of Hector's manhood. However, this earns Gwen a vicious reprimand from Weidmann's daughter Leaf (Pratt), whom Hector had a one-night stand with during the shooting of the movie.
Gwen attempts to salvage the situation by announcing the couple is reuniting, but Eddie finds the courage to admit his love for Kiki, to which she reciprocates. Kiki also finds the courage to stand up to Gwen and tell her off that she can deal with her own problems because she has done being her personal assistant. Upon the revelation and having Kiki tell her off, Gwen fires her. After the junket, Kiki and Eddie pack to leave the hotel together. When confronted by press, Gwen admits that she and Eddie are no longer together and is actually in love with Hector. However, it is evident that their relationship is disintegrating as the result of Gwen's past comments on Hector and the revelation of his infidelity with Weidmann's daughter, putting Gwen ironically in the similar predicament as Eddie had went through before he begins his relationship with Kiki.
- 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
Reviews for America's Sweethearts were generally unfavorable, and the film holds a 31% at Rotten Tomatoes. Critics' consensus was "Despite its famous cast, the movie lacks sympathetic characters and is only funny in spurts."
Box office performance
- America's Sweethearts at the Internet Movie Database
- America's Sweethearts at Rotten Tomatoes
- America's Sweethearts at Metacritic
- America's Sweethearts at Box Office Mojo