The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FILM REVIEWS | - DON­ALD CLARKE

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.

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