Bobby

Sign me up for any film that reflects the burgeoning idealism of Robert Kennedy when he ran for the presidency. At the climax of Bobby, when the senator is shot by Sirhan Sirhan in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on June 5th, 1968, we hear RFK's words about "the divisions, the violence, the disenchantment with society." It's a resonant speech that deserved a real movie to flesh out its history.

What we get instead is real tragedy attached to trite fiction. Writer-director Emilio Estevez spends the bulk of his film setting up twenty-two cameos from stars playing imagined characters he places in the hotel that day. Look, there's Sharon Stone as a hairdresser and Demi Moore as a boozing nightclub singer, Estevez as her manager husband, and Ashton Kutcher as a hippie LSD dealer. Over there it's Lindsay Lohan marrying Elijah Wood to keep him out of Vietnam. Bobby plays like a cliched 1970s disaster flick — think The Towering Inferno — with the emotional heft of The Love Boat and the compromised truth of hagiography. Estevez means well. But having your heart in the right place is no excuse for insipid ineptitude.

From The Archives Issue 299: September 6, 1979