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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Bobby — DVD Review

Ten minutes into Bobby, the main thought I had was to wonder whether or not we really needed another period piece about the ‘60s. By the end of the film there was very little doubt that the answer to that question was a resounding no, at least not this one.

Bobby follows several individuals at Los Angeles’ Ambassador Hotel on the night Bobby Kennedy was shot and killed while in the midst of his presidential campaign. From campaign workers having their first acid trip to hotel employees dealing with the racial tension of the day, the film gradually pulls together these disjointed stories intertwined forever by the tragic moment that many feel changed the course of our country’s history forever.

This film tries to do too much, and never allows the viewer too latch on to any of it. The closest thing to a story line that I cared about was the racially charged conversations and disputes among the kitchen staff working under a bigoted boss (Christian Slater) who won't give his employees time off to go vote. Another decent aspect was the young girl (Lindsay Lohan) who was marrying a guy she didn't love just to help him (Elijah Wood) avoid the draft and Vietnam War.

Emilio Estevez, the film’s creator who played a small part as the husband of an alcoholic lounge singer played by Demi Moore in a subplot that lost my interest early on, seemed to rely on nostalgia and star power to drive the film. William H. Macy plays a hotel manager cheating on his wife (Sharon Stone), a hotel beautician. Anthony Hopkins and Harry Belafonte play a couple old pals who just play chess and offer wise observations.

Helen Hunt and Martin Sheen, and Ashton Kutcher, were involved in a few of the side stories that just never went anywhere for me. I kept wondering why Hunt gets matched up with co-stars that at least seem a lot older than she is and how Kutcher ended up in a serious period piece. His role as a hippie getting the scrub election workers high seemed like a weak attempt at humor, though I’m pretty sure it wasn’t meant to be.

I’ll admit this film quickly lost my strictest attention early on, and might take a slightly older viewer to appreciate. That said, Bobby just wasn’t that good.

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