Rules Don't Apply - "This Movie Rocks" Don't Apply
Dir: Warren Beatty
Starring Warren Beatty, Lily Collins, Alden Ehrenreich, Matthew Broderick, Annette Bening, Martin Sheen, Alec Baldwin, Candice Bergen, Ed Harris, Amy Madigan
Given that Warren Beatty has spent, well, most of his life, planning on making a movie about Howard Hughes, what’s odd here is just how – odd – a movie he’s made. True, The Aviator stole a lot of his long-delayed thunder. But when Beatty finally got back to his subject in hand, he begins by focusing not on Hughes so much as the young couple in his orbit – Collins’ teen actress and Ehrenreich’s on-contract driver. Fraternising is frowned upon (unless its between Hughes and any of his harem of female talent.) Yet the youngsters inevitably start to fall for each other…and Beatty’s pleasant old Hollywood comedy starts to fall apart.
Where it ends up though is perhaps where it should have been all along – because Beatty the director choses to all but abandon his young stars and concentrate on his own performance as Hughes. Admittedly it’s still mostly played for laughs, but it’s a damn sight more interesting than what emerges as something of an insipid romance.
Shot deliberately on the expectations-lowering downlow, Beatty surrounds himself with a terrific supporting cast, although unfortunately many of them have little to do. Broderick and Bening have their moments, but Baldwin, Bergen, Sheen and more are largely wasted.
Somewhere over the years, Beatty has clearly lost his focus on what it was that attracted him to the whole Hughes enigma in the first place, as this is very definitely an unfocused film.
Still, it’s great to see him back on screen after a 15-year gap.
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