Movie Notes: Being the Ricardos

I tried watching the Amazon movie about the stars of I Love Lucy, and oy vey. It’s horrid. I’m even looking forward to the Dean’s meeting because it can’t be that much worse.

First of all, the actors are way too old. Not only that but they look freakish because of the outlandish amount of plastic surgery they’ve had. Lucy and Desi were comedic actors with a large variety of facial expressions. You can’t play them of your face doesn’t move.

Kidman is no actress, and it’s especially obvious when she tries to play somebody who was a talented comedian. All that Kidman does is stand around, looking devastatingly elegant (something that Lucille Ball was definitely not) and frozen. Kidman is a woman who couldn’t make anybody crack a smile to save her life. Her best roles are like the one in Big Little Lies where she plays a fake, plastic caricature of a “suburban mom.”

Bardem is a great actor but this role is so not for him. He’s Spanish, not Cuban. He gets the accent right but his body just doesn’t move like a Cuban’s, especially at his age. When he tries to teach Kidman dance the rumba, she’s actually better at it than he is (and she’s horrid at it).

In the absence of roles they are capable of playing, Kidman and Bardem play themselves. And since he’s about 10 galaxies more profound than she is, the movie becomes even more skewed. The original TV show worked so well because the actors clicked. They played off each other. In the movie, it’s like the actors never met, let alone had sex.

This debacle reminded me of how a famous Russian filmmaker recently made an ecranization of Anna Karenina, and of course he had to give the starring role to his postmenopausal wife. To make her age stand out less, he cast sexagenarians in all roles. How these old women all managed to give birth so easily with the reproductive technologies of the 19th century remained unaddressed. You could just see the poor Vronsky’s rheumatic joints creak as he tried to pick Anna’s handkerchief from the floor. But this was about the complexity of the filmmaker’s personal life. What motivated the insane casting of Being the Ricardos is a mystery.

After a half hour of watching this movie, I turned it off and watched some real I Love Lucy to get the bad taste out of my mouth.

P.S. I’m at the Dean’s meeting now, and OK, it’s actually worse.

6 thoughts on “Movie Notes: Being the Ricardos

  1. “Lucy and Desi”

    I always thought the best chemistry on the show wasn’t Lucy and Desi but Lucy and Ethel. The two comic energies (the manic dreamer and reluctant accomplice) sparked off each other so well.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I dislike Kidman, too. She’s always super wooden and profoundly unfunny. Shouldn’t be within driving distance of any comedic role.
    The actress Debra Messing is a skilled comedian and also looks remarkably like Lucy. She would’ve been perfect in this role. But Hollywood politics yada yada. What can you do.

    Like

  3. “Kidman is no actress”

    So many performers don’t understand what their real strength is and end up pursuing horrible wasted dead ends rather than staying with what they’re good at.

    Kidman isn’t a great actress, she’s a Movie Star of the old school. The first thing she was really good in was Moulin Rouge which showed off her strengths. Put her in a big lavish set and then let her fill the movie frame with her presence. She can be great at that.

    For example here (an underrated performance in a very underrated movie). Within the context of the film this scene is completely riveting even though she’s doing very little (actually she’s doing a lot just making it look like it’s not very much).

    But they mostly don’t make the kinds of films she’d be good in anymore, so…..

    Like

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