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movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: De-Lovely

Starring: Kevin Kline, Ashley Judd
Director: Irwin Winkler
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 125 Minutes
Release Date: July 2004
Genres: Drama, Romance, Music

*Also starring: Jonathan Pryce, Keith Allen, Angie Hill, John Barrowman, Natalie Cole, Elvis Costello, Sheryl Crow, Alanis Morissette, Diana Krall

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1.  Steve Rhodes review follows movie reviewmovie review
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Review by Steve Rhodes
2 stars out of 4

DE-LOVELY is a musical based on the life of Cole Porter, a wealthy man who loved many men but just one woman, his wife Linda. When we first meet Cole, he is an incredibly wealthy guy who is just discovering that the world not only likes his music, it might even pay him for it.

Those paying for this musical will likely end up being disappointed. As directed clumsily by Irwin Winkler and written clunkily by Jay Cocks (GANGS OF NEW YORK), the movie starts off atrociously but does get better. In the first part of the picture, the wonderful songs are sung in snippets. The musical moments are punctuated with awkward and stilted dialog that completely kills the movie's momentum.

Kevin Kline, who was the star of Winkler's last film, LIFE AS A HOUSE, gives a spirited but unconvincing performance as Cole Porter. Ashley Judd provides a pretty face but not much more as Linda. Linda is the canonical understanding wife who does have her limits. She has no problem with Cole's nightly flings with his gentlemen friends; but she doesn't like being ignored, and she wants him to practice more discretion. In the sappy last half of the story, Cole and Linda both develop serious medical problems. Cue the violins.

The songs, sung by a host of today's popular artists (Natalie Cole, Elvis Costello, Sheryl Crow, Diana Krall, Alanis Morissette and others), provide the only reason to see the film. In the first half of the movie, you'll be wishing that the characters would stop talking and start singing again, but, in the second half, the musical numbers generally are allowed to run to completion. Among the fun little ditties that Cole comes up with is one that includes the lines, "Have you heard of Professor Munch? He ate his wife and divorced his lunch."

Where are Baz Luhrmann (MOULIN ROUGE!) and Rob Marshall (CHICAGO) when you need them? Winkler was simply the wrong choice for creating a musical.

DE-LOVELY runs 2:01. It is rated PG-13 for "sexual content" and would be acceptable for teenagers.

Copyright 2004 Steve Rhodes

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