Photo: Glenn Wilson/Amazon Studios
The world of television—its ins and outs, the logistics of production, and character clashes—has proven fertile ground for the writings of Aaron Sorkin. His breakthrough series of 1998 Sports night Helix brought suddenness and sometimes pity to the character-driven workplace sitcom, a formula he pursued and expanded on in his signature show, West Wing. His play on Broadway Farnsworth’s invention Approach the history of the medium with a force and a fair amount of poison after a decade. But the Idiot Fund has also inspired his worst ventures, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip And newsroomDissonant and frighteningly serious accounts of content creation problems. his new movie Being RicardosNarrated the behind-the-scenes drama in TV’s first great case comedy, i love lucy, It probably went either way.
But with Sorkin who is also a writer as a director, Being Ricardos He was doomed from the start. There are moments when the movie comes out and the director seems to be in sync with his team, his crew seem to be in sync with each other, and the intended sparks are flying. But it is transient. Sorkin interrupts the film’s urgency with endless flashbacks and flash forwards, with the characters repeating (and exaggerating) the thoughts and emotions we just saw thrilled. And when he comes emotionally short, he turns to a conspicuous degree (from the usually dependable Danielle Pemberton). As a result, the whole thing is strangely lifeless, a museum piece, a carefully curated display of an old TV with nothing at stake.
Being Ricardos It’s a short-lived scandal: In 1952, star Lucille Ball was investigated by the House Un-American Activities Committee for her ambiguous ties to the Communist Party in her youth, little gossip was leaked by famed columnist Walter Winchell. This ball turned the life of the ball for a week in the middle of I love LucyThe series’ dominance, as well as the careers of its stars, threatens Ball (Nicole Kidman) and her husband, business partner and co-star Desi Arnaz (Javier Bardem), to a hasty conclusion. “It was a scary time,” explains the actors who played the show’s creators Jess Oppenheimer (Tony Hill), Bob Carol Jr. (Jake Lacy), and Madeline Pugh (Alia Shawkat), whose memories illuminate this stressful week. It’s the kind of dual (warring, perhaps) storytelling device that Sorkin loves, and it’s a chance to spin several dishes at once.
The problem is that he is not a director nimble enough to perform such narrative acrobatics. Much of the couple’s backstory — Paul’s frustrated attempts at movie stardom, the fiery attraction between her and Arnaz, and the logistics of jobs that initially separated them — is dramatized, deeply rooted in Old Hollywood history as he invested in the complex politics of navigating the show. Work as a stubborn woman. But Sorkin is stuffing in the complications that have occurred elsewhere in the I love Lucy The schedule, including a gossip busting spread stories of Desi’s betrayal and Lucy’s pregnancy battle on the show, shifts the scope of the film into what she calls a “week-long compound break.” The story could have succinctly captured Lucy and Daisy’s life and relationship via the devastating events of this tight period, but the copious cuts back and forth in time continue to undermine that potential. Being Ricardos It turns into an illustrated Wikipedia page, too volatile and shallow to give us any real emotional insight or add to our I love Lucyfamous traditions.
It can be dry as a Wikipedia page as well. This is a movie about one of the funniest people of the 20th century. Presented with Ball’s unique style of rich steps and punchlines, however, Sorkin resides in laser-focused Kidman and thinks her business is through. It reminds us that a writer is seldom more difficult than when he is in his place studio 60– Similar to a soap program about the very serious business of TV comedy.
Having said that, a longtime TV professional knows what to read about brawls about table work and power plays at rehearsals, highlighting rivalries and running jokes that have become part of the work environment. Of particular note is the subplot related to Nina Arianda’s Vivian Vance, who considered herself more than just a vulgar friend. Arianda and Kidman epitomize the thorny dynamic between Vance and Paul and Vance’s constant alienation from her stature on the show. She is a wonderful entourage, sympathetically illustrated.
A powerful cast of supporting players and character actors easily wrap their arms around Sorkin’s stylized dialogue. Its usual rhythms don’t feel very contemporary here, it’s a city like the spiral comedy of a bygone era. J.K. Simmons proves the MVP in the picture, imagining William Frawley as a mixture of ruthlessly offensive comedy seen as everything sarcastic. Clark Gregg (as CBS exec Howard Wenke), Alia Shawkat, Jake Lacy and Tony Hale are making the most of their limited screen time.
Central performers face more problems. Both Kidman and Bardem are well decade old for their roles. Hair aside, Kidman doesn’t look much like a ball (and attempts to Make She looks like Lucy with the help of prosthetics (just underscore the point), and she can’t do slapstick. It may be strange to watch the stone-faced Kidman attempt the classic sequence as the lover who tramples grapes and falls. She made it, and she seems embarrassed to try.
However, Kidman delivers in the dramatic scenes and gets two of those big speeches that Sorkin writes so well. Ultimately, the writing is about all that Sorkin does well, though he breathes with a borderline pro-hawk—and certainly pro-Hoover (good timing!)—terminating, abandoning the actual (and compelling) outcome of real-life events and gimmicks into a fictional story. Melodrama hypertrophy. (He did this similarly with Chicago trial 7.)
It is not that absolute fidelity to history is a necessity (social network Definitely takes some liberties); He’s ignoring that history to create something that’s intellectually and emotionally so fake – that Significantly False – does not serve the film nor its themes. It’s the kind of miscalculation that you can’t help but wonder if another director – a stronger director, like social networkDavid Fincher O Steve JobsDanny Boyle – He would have vetoed and vetoed. Three films in his directing career, one thing is absolutely clear: someone needs the help of Aaron Sorkin, who, it seems, cannot help himself.