6/10 I’m a huge fan of Aaron Sorkin as a screenwriter and even his recent transition to director. His dialogue is lightning fast and immersive, “The Social Network” is one of the best screenplays of all time and his directorial debut, “Molly’s Game” is one of the best films of the last decade. I had last year’s “The Trial of the Chicago 7 as my 3rd most anticipated film of 2020 and gave it an 8/10. The only reason “Being the Ricardos” didn’t make my most anticipated films list of 2021 was because I didn’t think the film would be released this year. It was still filming over the summer and its December release date was only announced a month to a month and a half before its release. If I would have known its release date a year ago, it would have been in my top 10 most anticipated films of the year. However in hindsight, I am kind of glad I didn’t know and didn’t include it on my list since it ended up being one of, if not the weakest Sorkin film. Not to say that this is a bad film by any means as there are still many remarkable qualities to it, which I will get into. Yet Sorkin is such a strong screenwriter that my expectations for him are always super high and this ended up as a rather forgettable entry into his filmography which tries to do too much at once. As for what worked, his dialogue is reliably strong, which is to be expected. The actors all give fantastic performances and there are several scenes that really work on their own. The recreation of the time period through costume design, production design, along with the era appropriate props were fantastic. Minus one exception, which I will get to later, the hair & make-up looked great and the score and cinematography got the job done. The film is well made, well acted and well paced so you will be entertained from start to finish during its two hour running time. As for the problems which are uncharacteristic of Sorkin, this film has several. The film takes place over one week of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz as they rehearse and tape an episode of “I Love Lucy” while dealing with rumors of Lucy being a communist in a time when communists were black listed from Hollywood. Add this to marital troubles and you get one of the hardest weeks of their lives. The film shows the events of the week while also implementing flashbacks to how Lucy and Desi met and fell in love, with their ups and downs. The film tries to do too much with how much it shoves into the two hour run time. We get their origin story, how “I Love Lucy” came about, marital woes, the behind the scenes of the show, the communism subplot, dealing with studio heads and producers, Lucy’s pregnancy, subplots with supporting characters who act on the show, etc. There is just so much going on that before one subplot feels well developed or completed, we have already jumped three subplots ahead of it, making the film move almost too quickly. Another big problem are Lucy and Desi themselves. Having not known much about their personal lives since “I Love Lucy” was before my time, I did appreciate getting educated on their story but I found both of them to be unlikeable by the time the end credits began to roll. If your film has two main protagonists and neither of them are likeable characters to root for, that’s a problem. Despite their strengths and talents, Lucy was egotistical, bossy, talked down to co-workers, making them feel lesser and self-centered. Desi was a lying, cheating drunk who ignored his husbandly and fatherly responsibilities and couldn’t handle being in his wife’s shadows. Every human being is flawed but I didn’t see enough likeable, redeeming qualities in either of them for me to care about them. I cared far more for the supporting characters around them. Despite terrific performances from Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem, I had issues with the hair & make-up for Kidman as Lucy. Kidman had huge shoes to fill and did a solid job but her face didn’t look natural for one second of screen time. Her make-up just made her face look unnatural and off, which isn’t Kidman’s fault but she bears the brunt of the consequences. While certain scenes on their own were triumphant and emotional, the film as a whole left me feeling rather empty, despite how well made it was. Sorkin’s weakest script paired with unlikable leads and off putting make-up overshadowed the strong dialogue and amazing production/costume design. I’m still a big fan of Sorkin as a writer/director but let’s hope he takes some time off to bounce back from this.

#BallOrNothing / #CheatPlayLove / #LoveInTheTimeOfCommunism / #NicoleKiddingWoman / #RickySituation / #CubanCheat

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