Rules Don't Apply (2016)
Critic Consensus: With Rules Don't Apply, Warren Beatty takes an overall affable -- but undeniably slight -- look at a corner of old Hollywood under Howard Hughes' distinctive shadow.
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as Howard Hughes
as Marla Mabrey
as Frank Forbes
as Levar Mathis
as Bob Maheu
as Lucy Mabrey
as Nadine Henly
as Raymond Holiday
as Colonel Nigel Briggs
as Mr. Bransford
as Noah Dietrich
as Sarah Bransford
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Critic Reviews for Rules Don't Apply
A richly satirical portrait of American double standards.
If Hughes's problem is the lack of anyone with the balls to tell him not to be so damned silly, the symbiosis between character and creator is perfect.
It's a plodding, plonking, clonking, clanking vanity project, watching which is like drowning in suet or being alone for two hours in the kind of airless hotel room that Hughes reputedly holed up in.
This is Warren Beatty's first film as director in almost 20 years and it really wasn't worth the wait.
Beatty's casting of Collins and Ehrenreich is inspired: it's easy to imagine both of these beautiful young things thriving in the Hollywood of the 1950s and 60s, in much the same way Beatty himself did.
Audience Reviews for Rules Don't Apply
Flying quite a bit lower than The Aviator in terms of scope and entertainment value, Warren Beatty's lightly comic take on Howard Hughes charts a sometimes enjoyable - though not always breezy - old H'Wood romp. This PG-13-rated comedy presents the unconventional love story of an aspiring actress (Lily Collins), her ambitious driver (Alden Ehrenreich), and their eccentric boss (Beatty), the legendary billionaire Howard Hughes. The good news is: Rules Don't Apply ranks better than Beatty's last two turns in the director's chair (Love Affair, Town & Country). The bad news is: this ain't Heaven Can Wait (which hasn't aged well) or even Bulworth (which has improved exponentially with age, but more on that later), the two entries on his director/star CV that also qualify as out-and-out comedies. In an unparalleled H'Wood career that astoundingly bridged the Studio era (Splendor in the Grass, Bonnie & Clyde) with the Maverick '70s (Shampoo, McCabe & Mrs. Miller) and continued through the rise of independent cinema (Dick Tracy, Bugsy), this star simply has little - if nothing - left to prove. He's the living legend who made Reds, for Chrissakes. He wouldn't benefit from, say, showy Oscar noms in the December of his years a la Christopher Plummer (Beginners, All the Money in the World). Mind you, such a feat wouldn't be beneath him. Rather, he's an icon who's already accomplished so much that such prizes wouldn't really matter in the grand scheme of things. For him to make a film like Rules Don't Apply means that he's either bored, has a strong interest in the fascinatingly enigmatic Hughes, or probably a little bit of both. It's as if Beatty wondered what the lift of the eccentric billionaire would look like through the lens of Preston Sturges. With this basic framework in place, he puts a screwball love triangle at the center and lets the comedy ensue...at least in parts. Oftentimes clunky, the pacing of Rules Don't Apply just isn't consistently fun or fast-paced enough. Perhaps, he should've emulated Sturges' style a little closer. Rules Don't Apply certainly has its moments though. Most of these moments come courtesy of the casting, which sees Ehrenreich, Collins, and a dynamite supporting cast shine even when the shenanigans slog along. Also, from set design to costuming to music to the photography - his crew nails the look and feel of the '50s. For a film with the title "Rules Don't Apply," however, Beatty's latest doesn't really take chances. Remember, this is the director who gave audiences the edgy and prescient political comedy Bulworth, which makes a hell of a lot more sense now than it did in 1998 and it made a lot of sense then. Rather, what results is a throwback that plays it safe. With better editing, it could've instead played it for laughs which was the whole damn point. To Sum It Up: Retro Ill-Fitted
More humorous than I expected. It's kind of a mess, but I still admire Beatty's bizarre vision.
At the core of this slice of late 50's, early 60's Hollywood is, tah-dah, (of course) a love story. Unfortunately both of our young lovers come off as opportunistic wannabes, particularly when played against the always-in-shadow Howard Hughes (writer/director/producer Beatty) who seems bewildered as to why they seem bewildered over being played so, um, ruthlessly. And he does play them both. Sucks all the charm right out of the thing. Somehow Annette Bening escapes as the only sympathetic character onscreen and she's only there for a minute.
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