I didn't really have high expectations going into this movie,
but I was looking forward to seeing John Cusak having to juggle
Catherine Zeta-Jones and Julia Roberts.
But it surprised me.
I was expecting a "love conquers all" movie centered around
John Cusak and Catherine Zeta-Jones (who play A-list actors
paired on the screen all the time who are a couple in real life,
but whose relationship is on the rocks) and Julia Roberts (playing
Catherine Zeta-Jones' sister and lackey, who provides John Cusak
with genuine affection if he'd only stop pining for Zeta-Jones
for long enough to realize it).
However, for the first twenty minutes I was treated to a "ain't
Hollywood a mess" movie centered around Billy Crystal (a movie
PR man who got canned in the recent past to be replaced by Seth
Green) and Stanley Tucci (the movie company exec who fired Crystal
but who now desperately needs him back) as they try to resurrect
the mess surrounding the latest movie starring Cusak and Zeta-Jones
that's being held hostage by its director (Walken).
Anyway, it goes from the "ain't Hollywood a mess" movie, shifts
over to the "love conquers all" movie, and then back to the
"ain't Hollywood a mess" movie, and does so rather seamlessly.
In the end, I think it was the blending of the two movies that
really carried this one over into positive territory for me.
I don't think I could have taken a whole movie around either
one or the other theme, but being able to shift kept things
moving at a quick enough clip for me to enjoy it.
It's a great date movie, because there are two people who get
to fall in love, but it doesn't hit you over the head with it
too badly so you're not squirming through the picture. It's
a good group movie too, for the Christopher Walken scenes as
well Stanley Tucci's character losing his cool at so many opportune
moments. Billy Crystal's character suffers from an unfortunate
bout of conscience at the end, but it doesn't slow the movie
down too bad, so all the slimy goodness isn't wasted.