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America’s Sweethearts (2001, Julia Roberts, Billy Crystal)



Gwen Harrison and Eddie Thomas (Catherine Zeta-Jones and John Cusack) were the nation’s favourite on and off-screen couple until they split, with her career going down the tubes, and him booking into rehab. Now, re-united by director Hal Weidmann (Christopher Walken) for his sci-fi spectacular, they are once again an item. Well, not quite; she’s enamoured with a well-endowed Spaniard (Hank Azaria) while he’s falling for her sister and gofer Kiki (Julia Roberts). As Kiki and studio PR Lee Phillips (Billy Crystal) prepare to premiere a film no-one has actually yet seen in a Nebraska hotel, the two stars must pretend to be passionately in love, although they passionately hate each other, and hope that there is a film to show…

Veteran producer Joe Roth turns director, with Crystal and Peter Tolan’s smart script offering plenty of laughs at Hollywood’s expense. The film has been favourably compared to Singin’ in the Rain for its plot, but is inevitably less affectionate and more acerbic than the musical. Crystal gives himself the best lines but the stellar cast all pitch in, with Roberts happily donning a fat suit before slimming down to gain Cusack’s affections, and Walken the epitome of a reclusive, slightly weird director (he edits his films in the Unabomber’s cabin, which he bought from the government). And as well as the wit, there are plenty of sight gags, the best being a Doberman’s continual fascination with Crystal’s crotch.

production details
USA | 102 minutes | 2001

Director: Joe Roth
Writers: Billy Crystal, Peter Tolan

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 Gorgonzolas
Stanley Tucci as Dave Kingman
Christopher Walken as Hal Weidmann
Alan Arkin as Wellness Guide
Seth Green as Danny Wax
Rainn Wilson as Dave O’Hanlon
Eric Balfour as Security Guard
Scot Zeller as Davis
Larry King as Himself
Steve Pink as Limo Driver
Marty Belafsky as Security Guard
Keri Lynn Pratt as Leaf Weidmann
Maria Canals-Barrera as Adinah
Wendy Schenker as Maura Klein
Jim Ferguson as Mort Josephson
Lisa Joyner as Laura Messinger
Byron Allen as Byron Allen
Patrick Stoner as Bob
Sam Rubin as Ken
Shaun Robinson as Nevada Anchorwoman
Charley Steiner as Nevada Anchorman
Jeff Michael as Network Anchor
Sibila Vargas as Reporter
Jane Yamamoto as Reporter on Patio
Maree Cheatham as Matronly Interviewer
Alexander Enberg as Larry King Producer
Sarah Loew as Larry King Producer
Joseph Feingold as Judge
Sherry Jennings as Bar Hostess
Austin L. Sorrels as Little Boy
Shawn Driscoll as Sean
Ann Cusack as Assistant to Lee Phillips (uncredited)
Raquel Baldwin as Dancer (uncredited)
Emma Roberts as Girl in Purple T-shirt (uncredited)