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Rules Don’t Apply

Cover Media logo Cover Media 6 hrs ago covermg.com
© Provided by Cover Media

Billionaire Howard Hughes is clearly still a person of interest to many even after his death in 1976 and his quirky characteristics have been injected into everything from video game BioShock to 2004 movie The Aviator, starring Hollywood icon Leonardo DiCaprio.

The latest effort paying homage to Hughes is Rules Don’t Apply, helmed by veteran director Warren Beatty, who also steps into the shoes of the late entrepreneur. While his performance isn’t half bad, the same can’t be said for the film itself.

Set in the glamorous years of Old Hollywood, the story begins with Hughes hiding behind a curtain as journalists await confirmation on whether his mental health is really deteriorating – as claimed by an author set to publish a tell-all book on him.

Flashback several years to 1958 and we meet young driver to the stars Frank Forbes (Ehrenreich), who works for Mr Hughes but has yet to meet him, so relies on his colleague Levar Mathis (Matthew Broderick) to show him the ropes. There’s one important rule which the drivers must follow above all else: do NOT get involved with the actresses on Hughes' payroll, something which Frank finds difficult to abide by when he meets aspiring star Marla Mabrey (Collins).

Lo and behold, Marla and Frank develop feelings for each other, but little do they truly know the other’s true commitments to Hughes himself. The entrepreneur quickly calls upon his young new driver for almost every task at hand, from ordering banana nut ice cream to looking after his business deals, while Marla has a pivotal part in Hughes maintaining control of his reputation and his sense of youthfulness.

But the two tales running parallel to one another don’t mesh well and with little chemistry between Collins and Ehrenreich, it’s hard to care about their characters and their ‘doomed’ relationship – when you watch them argue for no reason it’s hard to feel sad or heartbroken for them as there’s no build up or real bond felt, which makes the film a dull, confusing watch with no real heart.

Hughes’ struggle doesn’t really pull you in either – while everyone knows about his condition towards the end of his life, this film turns it into somewhat of a joke, and not a funny one either.

Broderick offers little to the plot, as does Annette Bening as Marla’s religious mother, so what you’re left with is a bunch of talented actors awkwardly interacting with each other in front of the camera. It could be argued the title is fitting though; the rules of making an interesting and engaging feature certainly don’t apply here.

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