Rules Don’t Apply (PG)
Rating: 2.5 / 5
Los Angeles, 1958, and aging eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes (Warren Beatty) continues his stranglehold over Hollywood. Enter Marla (Lily Collins), an aspiring actress whose real passion is song-writing, and her equally green driver Frank (Alden Ehrenreich) who harbours his own ambitions as a land developer.
While there’s obviously a spark between the two young hopefuls, Frank is told in no uncertain terms that if he tries any ‘hanky-panky’ with Marla he’ll be fired on the spot. As Rules Don’t Apply is a romantic comedy, it’s not hard to conclude that cupid’s arrow will win out in the end.
Essentially a vanity project for director, screenwriter and actor Beatty, the film is also a loving ode to Old Hollywood, and silver screen aficionados will revel in the technicolour rendering of old-style LA as the pair drive up familiar streets, such as Sunset Boulevard, Mulholland Drive and Rodeo Drive.
Collins and Ehrenreich are wonderful to watch on screen, with Ehrenreich, in particular, putting in a mesmerising performance (he reminded this reviewer of a young Ray Liotta). As Hughes, Beatty, too, holds his own—as well as providing most of the film’s wry humour.
Where the film falls down is in its mediocre script and untidy editing. The early scenes are cut so closely that they’re disorientating, and this gives an unwelcome impression that we’re watching a race to the finish line. That said, Beatty managed to entice some big names on board, so look out for cameos by Matthew Broderick, Candice Bergen, Annette Bening, Alec Baldwin and Martin Sheen, to name a few.