the fresh films reviews

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Rules Don' Apply (2016)

Warren Beatty
Rules Don't Apply
126 minutes
Producers (among others):
Warren Beatty
Arnon Milchan
Brett Ratner
Warren Beatty

Cast includes:

Howard Hughes Warren Beatty
Marla Mabrey Lily Collins
Frank Forbes Alden Ehrenreich
Lucy Mabrey Annette Bening
Levar Mathis Matthew Broderick
Robert Maheu Alec Baldwin
Mamie Murphy Haley Bennett
Nadine Henly Candice Bergen
Raymond Holliday Dabney Coleman
Colonel Nigel Briggs Steve Coogan
Mr. Bransford Ed Harris
Sally Megan Hilty
Mr. Forester Oliver Platt
Noah Dietrich Martin Sheen
Vernon Scott Paul Sorvino
Sarah Bransford Taissa Farmiga
Mrs. Bransford Amy Madigan
Richard Miskin Paul Schneider



Just like the case was with Howard Hughes himself, the rules of Hollywood has never really applied to Warren Beatty, who ever since his major financial and critical breakthrough with Bonnie and Clyde in 1967 has done things his own way and at his own pace often to the annoyance of studio executives, directors, and co-stars. Therefore, it is quite fitting that when he now finally makes his first film in almost twenty years (after Bulworth in 1998), it is about another headstrong character who like Beatty was alternately admired and scorned by his contemporaries. There are certainly enough similarities between the two film moguls' careers to make Beatty casting himself in the lead both ideal and ironic.

The film opens with a young aspiring actress' (Lily Collins) arriving in Hollywood looking to be picked up by Hughes' company. Although not rooted in reality, the idea behind her character is fun and not at all unrealistic. Her little romance with Hughes' driver Frank (played by Alden Ehrenreich) is sweet, too. The problem is just that the twisted love triangle which Beatty tries to create and construct his film around never serves in the film's best interest. To put it short, Rules Don't Apply never seems to agree with itself whether it is a film about the ageing Howard Hughes with a little subplot about a young starlet, or a film about two young lovers with a little subplot about the ageing Howard Hughes. Knowing Beatty, there are two possible explanations here: Either he wanted to make the latter film, but became hung up on himself (again) during the process. Or he wanted to make the former film, but became hung up on the possibility of being a young beauty's leading man one last time.

Still, if you're willing to accept the film's sometimes outrageous premises, which to its defence probably will be a prerequisite for any film about Howard Hughes, Beatty still boasts impeccable comedic timing and has written some beautiful, funny scenes for himself and the wonderful Lily Collins. There's enough interesting material in Rules Don't Apply to fill two regular romantic comedies coming out of Hollywood, and for that it should be hailed or at least watched by a lot more people than did during its theatrical run. Acting aficionados will also have several fine supporting performances to enjoy, including from Matthew Broderick and, of course, Annette Bening.

Copyright 2.7.2017 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang