By Jess Fenton
23rd April 2017

When Warren Beatty writes and directs his first feature in almost two decades and also steps in front of the camera for the first time in 15 years, it’s time to get excited - right? Now add to the mix 1950s Hollywood, Howard Hughes, a laundry list of the who’s-who of Hollywood in cameo roles, and the hottie who’s about to play a young Han Solo in the latest ‘Star Wars’ spin-off. Oooooooh, I’m getting tingly. But wait ‘til you hear what ‘Rules Don’t Apply’ is about. Well.... um, nothing. It’s about nothing. Two hours and seven minutes of sweet F.A.

We’ve got eccentric billionaire and movie producer Howard Hughes (Beatty). A fresh-off-the-bus aspiring starlet and devout Baptist Marla Mabrey (Lily Collins, ‘The Blind Side’, 'Mirror Mirror') and the ambitious Hughes employee Frank (Alden Ehrenreich, ‘Hail, Caesar!’). Over the course of five years, Hughes gets weirder, Marla gets less Christian and Frank gets less patient. Fade to black. Roll credits.


I wish to God I could see what Beatty saw to drag him away from his cozy home life and back on a filmset, but I can’t. I can’t remember the last time I was this bored in a film, and that’s with the whiplash-inducing frenetic editing and back-to-back all-too-short scenes that serve zero purpose. There was a small burst of excitement when I suddenly realised that Hughes’ assistant was played by an almost unrecognisable and most definitely wasted Candice Bergen ('Murphy Brown') who, for some reason, sounds like Kathleen Turner - I guess she was struggling with a sore throat during her shoot days.

Anyway, it turns out that the rules to good filmmaking didn’t need to a apply here, and were sadly and grossly overlooked. Well, maybe you should give it another 18 years, Mr Beatty.

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