learns, have been exaggerated, but the story still might make for a decent flick. To this end, she’s teamed with Buckley ( Hunger Games’ Sam Claflin), a bitter screenwriter who counters her ideas with: “Girls don’t want to be the hero: they want to be had by the hero.”
Despite Buckley’s sourness and Catrin’s devotion to her ne’er-do-well artist husband (Jack Huston), there’s a romantic spark between the co-writers, but that may not be enough to save the project from endless “morale-boosting” revisions, a meddling government minister (a
Henry V quoting Jeremy Irons), a hilariously preening past-best actor (Bill Nighy, at lived for decades in a mire of gossip. Our knowledge of those connections lend some weight to an otherwise inhibited performance. One senses that Beatty is straining to break out and have some inappropriate fun with the part. But decorum restrains too much of his turn.
The film’s greatest problem is its inability to manage its comic potential. Much of the interaction between the three principals seems to be leaning towards screwball. People hide in cupboards. Sexual trysts are interrupted. But the energy is never at a sufficient level to get his most Nighyan) and a talentless American (Jake Lacy) parachuted into the production for political reasons.
The production makes charming use of the no-budget film-within-the-film and of its talented, likeable ensemble. Gaby Chiappe’s touching, good-humoured screenplay adroitly transitions between wartime tragedy, comedy, romantic drama and feminist-friendly themes.
“You know a lot of men are scared we won’t go back into our boxes when this is all over,” observes Catrin’s female colleague, “It makes them belligerent.” It’s the best Lone Scherfig film since 2009’s An Education. the laughs churning. The actors are certainly up to it. Ehrenreich stole the Coens’ Hail, Caesar!, Beatty knew what to do in Shampoo. But the timing is always a little off.
Whinges noted, Rules Don’t Apply remains a diverting oddity. Caleb Deschanel’s photography soaks up the sun-blasted Hollywood streets and finds forbidding shadows in Hughes’s various lairs. And Beatty’s breadth of friendships ensures that welcome celebrities people every corner of every scene. Worth indulging.