For an awkward, self-conscious girl like Kiki, being the personal assistant to a beautiful mega-star like Gwen isn't easy. But when she dutifully accepts the task of helping Gwen and her estranged mega-star husband Eddie make it through one last public appearance masterminded by legendary press agent Lee Phillips, forever devoted Kiki finds that her job is about to get even harder. At first it seems her challenge is to keep the peace between Gwen and Eddie and their public image intact, but soon Kiki is faced with a more personal concern as her longtime friendship with Eddie begins to take a romantic turn.
In spite of a scattering of funny lines, a game performance by Catherine Zeta-Jones and amusing walk-ons by Alan Arkin and Christopher Walken, this crowded, glossy comedy lacks both the bite of real satire and the giddy effervescence of screwball. John Cusack and Ms. Zeta-Jones are a pair of narcissistic movie stars whose real-life breakup threatens the profitability of their new movie. Billy Crystal plays the over-the-hill publicist who organizes a press junket at which all manner of not terribly surprising complications ensue. Julia Roberts plays Ms. Zeta-Jones's ugly-duckling sister, who is also her long-suffering assistant and her rival for Mr. Cusack's affections. - A. O. Scott
2001-07-20 | A. O. Scott | Read the New York Times Review of America's Sweethearts