There is the part of co-writer/director Warren Beatty’s movie that plays like a variation on My Favorite Year, with a newly-hired chauffeur named Frank (Alden Ehrenreich) in 1950s Hollywood gradually becoming a confidante of his boss, billionaire Howard Hughes (Beatty). There is the part that’s about an awkward would-be romance between Frank and Marla (Lily Collins), one of Hughes’ recently-arrived contract ingénues for RKO Pictures. There is the part that involves Marla’s own complicated relationship with Hughes. And there is the fundamental problem that these three parts never work together, banging into one another with an awkwardness that’s only amplified by the clipped, incomplete editing rhythms. Each of them has their charms, most notably when Collins is going full screwball as the innocent girl getting her first taste of champagne, or when Frank is trying to make sense of Hughes’ increasingly erratic behavior. Thrown together into one package—and weirdly flippant about themes including religious belief colliding with Hollywood glamour—it turns into a sporadically amusing mess that’s a little bit rom-com, a little bit vanity project and a lot of confusion over what exactly the point is.
Director: Warren Beatty
Producer: Warren Beatty, Arnon Milchan, Brett Ratner, James Packer, Steve Bing and Terry Semel
Cast: Warren Beatty, Lily Collins, Alden Ehrenreich, Annette Bening, Matthew Broderick, Alec Baldwin, Haley Bennett, Candice Bergen, Dabney Coleman, Steve Coogan, Ed Harris, Megan Hilty, Oliver Platt, Martin Sheen, Paul Sorvino, Taissa Farmiga and Patrick Fischler