America's Sweethearts is a 2001 American romantic comedy film directed by Joe Roth and written by Billy Crystal and Peter Tolan. It stars Julia Roberts, Crystal, John Cusack and Catherine Zeta-Jones, with Hank Azaria, Stanley Tucci, Seth Green, Alan Arkin and Christopher Walken in smaller roles.
|Directed by||Joe Roth|
|Cinematography||Phedon Papamichael Jr.|
|Edited by||Stephen A. Rotter|
|Music by||James Newton Howard|
|Distributed by||Sony Pictures Releasing|
|Box office||$138.3 million|
Film publicist Lee Phillips is tasked with promoting Time Over Time, an upcoming movie featuring beloved husband-and-wife stars Gwen Harrison and Eddie Thomas, who have made countless popular films together. His job is complicated by the film's eccentric director Hal Weidmann, who refuses to show anyone the film until its premiere at a press junket. Worse, Gwen and Eddie, once "America's Sweethearts", are going through an ugly divorce. Gwen's career has been on a downward slide since she stopped making movies with Eddie. Her affair with co-star Hector, who she now lives with, drives Eddie to an emotional breakdown; Eddie's actions lead Gwen to file a restraining order against him, and he moves to a New Age retreat. Lee decides his best chance to promote the film is to convince the press the couple have reunited.
Lee enlists the help of Gwen's sister and personal assistant, Kiki, and they persuade Gwen that her tarnished career and public image will benefit if she attends the junket, where she will also be able to serve Eddie divorce papers. Lee bribes Eddie's spiritual guide to convince Eddie he is well enough to attend.
At the junket, while Eddie and Gwen are at each other's throats, Lee plants stories to convince the press the couple are reconciling. Gwen encourages Kiki to be her go-between with Eddie; as they spend time together, Eddie begins to develop feelings for Kiki, who had a longtime crush on him and recently lost a significant amount of weight.
Angered by the stories circulating that Gwen and Eddie are reuniting, Hector arrives at the junket and confronts Eddie, ultimately knocking him out. As Kiki tends to Eddie, they admit their feelings for each other and have sex. However, in the morning Eddie eagerly leaves to meet with Gwen to discuss their marriage, hurting Kiki, who becomes furious when she hears Eddie tell Gwen he isn't seeing anyone. She confronts him and tells him she can't pursue a relationship with him because she doesn't believe he'll ever get over Gwen.
Eddie has an epiphany while going to the hotel roof to think (causing a panic among the press below that he's about to commit suicide) and tells Lee that he's in love with Kiki, but that he's lost his chance with her. Despite the damage it would do to the film, Lee tells Eddie to end his marriage and go after Kiki. Weidmann then arrives by helicopter with the finished film.
The screening begins, and the press, cast, and crew discover that Weidmann abandoned the script and made a "reality movie" instead. The footage, mostly shot with hidden cameras and without the actors' knowledge, shows Gwen pursuing an affair with Hector and expressing no remorse, even gloating about it, to Kiki, who is still overweight and timid. Eddie is shown becoming angry about Gwen's clear infidelity, but otherwise appears sympathetic. The film also shows studio's owner, Dave Kingman, being insulted by Weidmann and mocked by his assistant behind his back.
The cast and crew — particularly Gwen and Kingman — are offended and confront Weidmann, while Eddie appears amused and suggests working together again. Gwen announces she will sue Weidmann for embarrassing her and invading her privacy, along with Kingman Studios for having not prevented this. Kiki appears surprised, but not angered by the portrayal of her sister while Hector angrily contests Gwen's comments in the film that his penis is small.
Humiliated, Gwen tries to salvage the situation by announcing she is reconciling with Eddie. He asserts he is finally through with her, and declares his love for Kiki, who reciprocates and stands up to Gwen for the first time. Gwen retaliates by coldly firing her, then, realizing the press are in earshot, turns around and gives her blessing, declaring she only wants Kiki's happiness. She then claims that she's on medication that makes her behave erratically, adding (at Hector's insistence) that Hector is very well-endowed.
Kiki and Eddie prepare to leave together, making plans to travel and pursue their relationship. Lee arrives to tell them that against all odds, the press love the movie and the studio wants to release it.
- 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 Gorzongolas
- 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
- Maria Canals as Adinah
- Byron Allen as Himself
- Max Charles as Security Guard
Julia Roberts' niece, Emma Roberts, makes an uncredited appearance as the young girl in the purple T-shirt.
America's Sweethearts opened on July 20, 2001, and earned $30,181,877 in its opening weekend, ranking second behind Jurassic Park III ($50,771,645). By the end of its run, the film had grossed $93,607,673 in the domestic box office and $44,583,755 overseas for a worldwide total of $138,191,428. Based on a $46 million budget, the film was a box office success. Filming took place at Lake Las Vegas.
Despite being a box office success, the film holds a 32% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes from 146 critics. The site's consensus states: "Despite its famous cast, the movie lacks sympathetic characters and is only funny in spurts." On Metacritic, the film holds a 44 out of 100 rating based on 32 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale. Gustavo Arellano in his writing ¡Ask a Mexican! identified Azaria's character Hector as an example of the Latin lover stereotype.
- "AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS (12)". British Board of Film Classification. August 6, 2001. Retrieved July 13, 2015.
- "'Gigli's' Real Price Tag — Or, How Studios Lie About Budgets". The Wrap.
- "America's Sweethearts (2001)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. October 22, 2001. Retrieved July 6, 2020.
- "Weekend Box Office Results for July 20-22, 2001". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. July 23, 2001. Retrieved July 13, 2015.
- "America's Sweethearts". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 27, 2014.
- "America's Sweethearts". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved July 13, 2015.
- "CinemaScore". cinemascore.com.
- Arellano, Gustavo (2008). Ask a Mexican. Simon and Schuster. p. 77. ISBN 9781416540038.