Bobby Emilio Estevez

I have no idea what Emilio Estevez wants me to think about Robert Kennedy. He was a fallen hero, I got that much, but what I can do with this information today remains a mystery, as does the ultimate purpose of most of his elegiac Bobby.

Marshalling an all-star cast, he gets as many people around the Ambassador Hotel (the site of Kennedy’s assassination) as possible to deliver their petty little stories. There’s Anthony Hopkins’ retired bellhop playing chess with Harry Belafonte; Mexican busboy Freddy Rodriguez arguing race with cook Laurence Fishburne; Kennedy campaign volunteer Shia LaBoeuf tripping on Ashton Kutcher’s acid; Sharon Stone learning of hubby William H. Macy’s infidelity; and Lindsay Lohan marrying draftee Elijah Wood, among others.

That all of these strands are cliché-ridden messes compounded by sloppy direction wouldn’t be so bad if Estevez could actually link them to each other and all of them to the Kennedy mystique. Alas, he’s flying by the seat of his pants hoping that the important issues he raises will somehow congeal into a big statement. Clearly he’s trying to reference our own time of military quagmires and divided Americans, but he never actually gets around to floating a thesis and thus sinks the film into a morass of disconnected narratives that serve no purpose and can’t even stand on their own as drama.

One is amazed that he managed to amass this kind of heavy-hitting cast for such a limited script, but perhaps people have lost the ability to tell the difference between actual writing and wishful thinking in the name of politics. There are critics who are falling for this, but don’t be fooled.

(Alliance Atlantis)