Saturday, June 2, 2007

Bobby - C

On DVD. R-Rated, 111 minutes.

Robert F. Kennedy was murdered on June 5, 1968, the night he won the Democratic Presidential Primary in California, and was poised to win the Presidency on a wave of populism and anti-war rhetoric. You would think a movie about that day would be riveting, give the inherent inertia and dramatic nature of the story. You'd be wrong.

Written and directed by Emilio Estevez, Bobby made me roll my eyes same way I do when I see celebrities at an AIDS benefit or a pro-choice rally. Estevez sets the movie up by tracing the day of the shooting from early morning, following several storylines, each a pained, transparent and ineffective attempt to show how much we've progressed since then (or not...tear drop).

The cast is impressive: Martin Sheen, Estevez, Sharon Stone, Demi Moore, Shia LeBouf, Lindsay Lohan, Frodo, Ashton Kutcher (worst performance ever, by the way), William H. Macy, Heather Graham, Christian Slater (good), Anthony Hopkins, Lawrence Fishburne, Helen Hunt, Nick Cannon, Joshua Jackson (in a great performance), and last and least, Harry "Chavez for President" Belafonte.

I'm not going to make fun of each of the storylines, I'll just highlight the best and worst. The best is that of the campaign workers, Joshua Jackson and Nick Cannon. Jackson captures the weariness and cynicism of his role as head of the Kennedy campaign, and as he and Cannon deal with the politics of the day, the dialogue is sharp and believable.

The worst is hard to choose, but I'll go with Belafonte and Hopkins. They play old buddies that hang around the Ambassador Hotel (the site of the shooting) all day every day playing chess and making the worst old fogey jokes, trying to make some larger racial point that I couldn't even figure out. Estevez tries to make racial points, gender points, drug points, image points, mental heath points, and on and on, all stupidly.

The film is written at an eighth grade level, and without the campaign storyline and the Kennedy quotes and images, this would've been an F. A big disappointment.


cmh said...

Not really a movie about much as it's a Bobby Lovefest. Not one of my favorites.

Doctor said...

Finally saw this. Kennedy's quotes and footage are great. The rest of the movie is lacking in realistic drama. Half of the actors (especially Demi Moore and her boy-toy) over-act. The Fishburne stuff was pretty solid though. Good review.