BEING THE RICARDOS – A Review by Cynthia Flores
This film is smartly written and directed by the ever-brilliant Aaron Sorkin. The man is responsible for epic films like A few Good Men and well-known television series like The West Wing. This film is about the iconic tv show I Love Lucy that when it was on the air was a mega-hit. An estimated sixty-eight percent of television sets on the night it was broadcast were tuned to the show. Meaning that about forty-four million people each night were watching it live. You would pretty much have to be living under a rock to not know who Lucy & Ricky were, so there should be a built-in fan base that would eat up a movie like this. Except the casting is truly off.
Being the Ricardos has an all-star cast. Nicole Kidman with Javier Bardem, are Lucy and Ricky. And J.K. Simmons with Nina Arianda are Fred and Ethel. All these actors are top-notch and brilliant at anything they do. However, Nicole Kidman, even with a distracting and off-putting prosthetic across the bridge of her face does not look like Lucille Ball. Also, Javier Bardem is a ruggedly handsome man, but he looks nothing like the pretty boy that Desi Arnaz was. Desi Arnaz in his prime was more of a Ricky Martin body type as opposed to Bardem’s boxer-like physique and large nose. These actors are so good at their craft I think they could probably switch the roles. With Kidman playing Ricky and Bardem playing Lucy. They could pull that off just as well as they pulled off the roles they are in now.
The stand-out character actor JK Simmons, as Fred Mertz, steals the show. He not only does a great job with his lines he matches the physicality of the original actor.
The story for Being the Ricardos takes place over the time span of one critical week. They are at the top of the show’s popularity when the accusation that Lucille Ball is a communist hits the papers. This could be a career-ending news story during the MacCarthy era. We get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the couple’s complex romantic and professional relationship. The movie takes the audience into the writer’s room, onto the soundstage, and behind closed doors with the rehearsals for their groundbreaking sitcom, I Love Lucy.
I give Being the Ricardos a 3-star rating. It’s a case of a great script but poor casting. Was Debra Messing not available for the making of the film? She looks like she could be the real Lucile Ball’s long-lost daughter. Also, Messing has the acting chops to pull off a role like this. Too bad for this film that she was not cast in the lead.
Directed by: Aaron Sorkin
Written by: Aaron Sorkin
Selig Rating: 3 Stars
Running Time: 2hr 5min
Drama / Biography
Wide Theatrical Release: December 10th and Amazon Prime Video Dec 21st
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Javier Bardem, Nina Arianda, J.K. Simmons
The Selig Rating Scale:
5 Stars – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
4 Stars – Good movie
3 Stars – OK movie
2 Stars – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
1 Star – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.