Aaron Sorkin’s “Being the Ricardos” opens with confusion and ends with a bubbly, two bookends appropriate for this messy biopic about Lucille Ball who never says exactly what he means about the legendary television wife and her famous televised wedding. . People have looked askance at star Nicole Kidman in an icy makeup mask, playing the famous expressive Lucy, and Javier Bardem playing the elegant Cuban conductor Desi Arnaz, but the acting didn’t is not the problem, not by a long blow. In fact, the actors are the best part of this otherwise poorly executed film, which actively goes against any ideas it might have wanted to give out about Lucy, Desi, and their influential TV show.
“Being the Ricardos” is nestled in a confusing and entirely superfluous framing device: a mock documentary with actors playing the writers and producers of “I Love Lucy”, some fifty years later, commenting on the most dramatic week of the show ever. This week on the hit “I Love Lucy”, Lucy is accused of being a Communist by Walter Winchell, Desi’s party landed her in the tabloids, and Lucy finds out she is pregnant. What will CBS and Phillip Morris do? More importantly, what will Lucy and Desi do?
The challenges presented during this week of rehearsal and filming are an opportunity to look back on Lucy and Desi’s courtship and the newlywed days, portraying them as ambitious artistic equals. Acerbic Lucille confidently seduces Desi on the set of “Too Many Girls”, and on their first date, she informs him that all she wants is a “house”.
Turns out the only place they can find said house is on a TV, as the only way these two married workaholics can hang out together is if they have the same job, which Lucy astutely realizes when ‘she offers him her own domestic sitcom after getting flamed. to RKO and find success in radio dramas. However, their marriage is only perfect within the confines of âI Love Lucy,â so comedy genius Ball grinds his team to make the show perfect, because when the show is perfect his marriage is perfect.
When the film focuses on the intricacies of this relationship between two extremely talented and driven people, it works, but Sorkin uses Lucille Ball simply as a vessel to unbox the finer nuances of the early television comedy and discuss House One of the Senator Joseph McCarthy. American Activities Committee and the dangers of the Hollywood blacklist.
The dialogue does click and crackle, but the overly picky and navel structure of the script crumbles. In addition, climate issues are a joke. Anyone with even a passing grasp of American pop culture knows the legacy of “I Love Lucy”, ergo, we never wonder if that is in danger. Worse yet, every time he positions Ball as a comedic genius and savvy businesswoman who has pushed the boundaries of American culture through her art, it undermines him, reminding us that she is also a borage. jealous, constantly questioning Desi’s loyalty, even in her most victorious. moments. It’s true that she can (and was) both of these things, but the film returns, over and over again, to that rather diminished, if not sexist conclusion, leaving a sense of unease.
The visual aesthetic of the film also contributes to the malaise, a gloomy, gloomy, drab affair that appears to have been processed through a ‘mud puddle’ filter. Maybe the intention was some sort of nostalgic, sepia-colored, smoke-filled room, but the result is just plain ugly. Sorkin figured out how to move the camera every now and then, but the film’s color scheme is so deeply dark, it’s depressing, contributing to the overall negative effect of âBeing the Ricardos,â a film that doesn’t even seem love Lucy all about it.
‘BE THE RICARDOS’
1.5 stars (out of 4)
MPAA Rating: R (for language)
Where to watch: in theaters on Fridays; streaming on Amazon Prime on December 21