Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Review of Bobby
Emilio Estevez's grandiose ensemble piece takes place at Ambassador Hotel over the course of the day Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated. Estevez who wrote and directed the piece is a little too overeager in his attempts to make the film a time capsule of the 60's with sloppily constructed newsreel montages, and references to things like CHADs that have the subtlety of hitting you over the head with a hammer. One of these references is fairly accurate, however: Anthony Hopkins, who plays a veteran of the hotel staff, asks one of the kitchen staff if he's seen the movie Grand Hotel, which is a lot of what the movie feels like. Grand Hotel was a best picture winner from the 1930s that boasted Hollywood's biggest stars (all 5 of them) all in the same picture. Estevez has done an admirable job in assembling his assortment of Hollywood's glitziest and most glamorous stars (preferring the showier Elijah Wood, Ashton Kutcher and Lindsay Lohan to thespians like Haley Joel Osmont, Tobey Maguire and Scarlett Johannson, for example). When stars like Sharon Stone, Anthony Hopkins and Christian Slater pop up without warning, it creates a sort of excitement that isn't usually present. Bobby plays out a lot like Nashville or Kansas City with different story lines going in their own directions and fusing together. Some of the story lines work and some don't but the ones that do are interesting enough to sustain us through the ones that don't. William H. Macy and Sharon Stone shine at the center of the film as the hotel's hard-nosed owner and his all-too-faithful wife, while Freddy Rodriguez, Christain Slater, and Lawrence Fishburne make for an interesting microcosm of racism in the hotel's kitchen. Shia LeBouf and Brian Geraghty provide comic relief as two straight-laced campaign workers discovering LSD and blotching the most important day of their young careers. What unites all the characters together, however, is their place in history when Bobby Kennedy was shot and Estevez's passion for the historic figure and his ideals, which lurk underneath the story lines, really stand out throughout the film.