Title: Being the Ricardos
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Aaron Sorkin
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Javier Bardem, Nina Arianda
Runtime: 2 hr 11 mins
What It Is: Through a look at one week of rehearsal on the ever-popular I Love Lucy television show we get a look at the rocky marriage between Lucille Ball (Kidman) and Desi Arnaz (Bardem). At this very same time, accusations begin to fly about Lucy possibly being a communist despite the House Un-American Activities panel finding her innocent. With everything happening all at once will the normally unflappable Lucy finally break or will she maintain her grace and let the show go on (despite the director).
What We Think: This is a failure from the director’s chair. Sorkin remains so good at dialogue and discussions. Even at his messiest, and this may very well be his messiest, he still brings compelling and fast-paced dialogue. Kidman is transformational but she’s probably the best casting choice of the four principal leads. J.K. Simmons doesn’t feel like William Frawley, Nina Arianda is ill cast but her performance is second to Kidman’s. Her Ethel is unlike what I assumed Vivian Vance was like. The stark difference in age between the Mertz’ is exacerbated here. We need to talk about Javier Bardem though. Man is 5’11” tall and wider than the Grand Canyon. Desi…not a big fella. He just looked…off playing against Kidman’s excellently made-up Lucy. Cuban Pete he is not. Structurally the script, while having good dialogue is terribly wrapped together and that’s Sorkin the director’s fault as much or more as it is Sorkin the writer’s fault.
Our Grade: C-, I found this a complete disappointment. Amazon has a documentary coming out in early 2022 about the couple and that will probably have more insight into them. It’s that insight that made this even a watch. With the doc existing this will be obsolete. There’s so much potential here with this project but it all got squandered. Also, Alia Shawkat continues to be one of my favorite character actresses. She needs to be in way more stuff.