“Titanic” applied the disaster movie formula to a real-life disaster with results far above average. “Bobby” attempts the same thing with less success.
The ship that sinks in this one is the ship of state, personified by Sen. Robert Francis Kennedy, who on the day of the 1968 California primary looked certain to be our next president.
Interwoven plots built around the victory party in Los Angeles’ Ambassador Hotel are mostly standard stuff. The overall impression is that RFK stands for Really Fine Kitsch.
Writer-director Emilio Estevez has assembled an amazing cast. They include William H. Macy as the hotel manager, Demi Moore as an alcoholic chanteuse performing in the Coconut Grove and Anthony Hopkins as a retired doorman with nowhere else to go.
Sharon Stone, frumped up like she’s hoping for an Oscar, plays the hotel manicurist and wife of Macy, who’s having an affair with switchboard operator Heather Graham.
Lindsay Lohan is a guest, there to marry Elijah Wood to keep him from going to Vietnam. Also crammed in are Martin Sheen, Helen Hunt and Ashton Kutcher.
Marriages, careers and lives begin, end and are renewed as Estevez does an excellent job of juggling the multitude of plot threads. Never mind that some of them would be better dropped.
It takes some time to get past the “Look, there’s !” aspect of the casting. Just when you think you’ve made it, an actor representing Sirhan Sirhan enters the hotel. Then there’s art imitating life in Demi’s speech to Sharon: “People don’t care about you when you get older ” (All that and Demi sings “Louie Louie” too.)
With tired montages of ’60s events and songs and “Bobby” is a likable mess.
Playing in wide release.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, November 24, 2006.