2.5 stars--615 words MGM DIRECTOR: EMILIO ESTEVEZ KATHLEEN A.

FITZGERALD STAFF WRITER Seems like everybody wants a little piece of that Kennedy magic. The cast list for “Bobby,” the latest movie documenting the effects of America’s royal family, reads like the guest list for L.A.’s chic eatery Dolce. Like a battery of bullets they barrage you—Anthony Hopkins, Lindsay Lohan, Sharon Stone, Elijah Wood, William H. Macy, Demi Moore, Martin Sheen, Heather Graham, Helen Hunt, and Christian Slater to name a few. Unfortunately, this over-thetop movie star-apalooza merely signals what’s to come—a bombardment of hyperbolic political maxims and religious statements that are better suited for a Al Sharpton rally than a thoughtful movie. Written and directed by Emilio Estevez, an avowed Kennedy admirer who previously adapted the script for 1985's "That Was Then … This Is Now," the movie “Bobby” follows a handful of archetypal ’60s characters—the hippie druggie, the angry black protestor, the enlightened black man, the hopeful political junkies, the drunk diva, the frustrated retiree, the scorned wife, the disconnected couple, the child war bride, and the impressionable youth—as they live their lives on a normal day inside L.A.’s Ambassador Hotel. As one might expect, this supposedly generic 24 hours coincides with the infamous 1968 assassination of presidential hopeful Robert F. Kennedy at the same hotel. Although Estevez’s use of real images of RFK’s life, speeches, and death bookend the movie and provide moving portraits of the impassioned politician, the film itself does not actually focus on the inspirational figure, instead choosing to highlight the “normal” Americans affected by the tragedy. Whether it’s the stiff, racist diatribes served up by the frustrated Mexican kitchen worker (Freddy Rodriguez) or the war bride’s (Lindsay Lohan) slew of anti-war declarations--"I’m willing to do it [marry a soldier to keep him from Vietnam’s front lines] until someone tells me why we’re over there”--Estevez’s heavy pen of righteousness bleeds through every line. Luckily for Estevez, many of the actors (particularly "Mean Girls"'s Lohan and "Basic Instinct"'s Stone) imbue their performances with such sincerity that the idealized dialogue works on occasion. As Miriam, the Ambassador's hair stylist, Stone is riveting. In a film where few of the supposedly "average" Americans feel real, Stone brings such calmness and depth to her role that Miriam emanates from the screen. When she looks at her cheating husband, Paul (William H. Macy), the silence breaks your heart. Lohan's attempt is equally admirable, yet it does not compare to Stone's "worn woman." With

each actor taking a large pay cut on this film, personal passion for the project is not a problem. But if passion alone could carry a movie, maudlin busts like "Showgirls" would be nominated for Oscars. Set to charged music, historical images of RFK’s life harken back to a more stylized cinematic era—that of Oliver Stone’s “JFK.” Instead of “JFK”’s multilayered political intrigue, however, in “Bobby,” bad is bad, good is good, and RFK is canonized as the next American saint. The icky gray area that makes life interesting is erased and replaced with premeditated dialogue that becomes quite noticeable the longer the movie rolls. Although Estevez's immense admiration for RFK remains quite evident in the black-and-white images he selects and the words he writes, the bulk of the film leaves something to be wanted. Just as RFK's ideas of hope sit tragically unfulfilled today, "Bobby" leaves you with an unsatisfied taste in your mouth. Even Ashton Kutcher’s humorous stint as an LSD pied piper for the politically active youth cannot create enough of a smoke screen to hide this gnawing feeling. BOTTOM LINE: Impassioned answer to the famous "We want Kennedy" cry goes a bit awry.