Combustible Celluloid
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With: Nicole Kidman, Javier Bardem, J. K. Simmons, Nina Arianda, Tony Hale, Alia Shawkat, Jake Lacy, Clark Gregg
Written by: Aaron Sorkin
Directed by: Aaron Sorkin
MPAA Rating: R for language
Running Time: 131
Date: 12/21/2021

Being the Ricardos (2021)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Lucy Goosey

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

It's another biopic in a sea of biopics, but writer/director Aaron Sorkin gives Being the Ricardos a kind of bounce, along with a clever structure that makes the film feel more compact and less sprawling. It's set during a particular week in 1953, as Lucille Ball (Nicole Kidman) and Desi Arnaz (Javier Bardem) are preparing to tape an episode of their smash-hit TV show I Love Lucy, when Lucy is publicly accused of being a Communist. In-between doom-laden rehearsals, also attended by the acerbic supporting actors William Frawley (J.K. Simmons) and Vivian Vance (Nina Arianda), the film flashes back several decades and tells the story of Lucy and Desi, their romance, and their ground-breaking television empire. The performances are the most entertaining thing about it, even as we scrutinize them, looking for sprinkles of the real folks. Kidman manages some dazzling Ball-like comedic bits, and Simmons and Arianda steal the show with their acerbic bickering.

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