It’s not that I didn’t “Love Lucy”, I didn’t know Lucy. I never saw the show when it started.
The show debuted in 1951 and was a big hit and lasted until 1957.
I wasn’t watching TV at the time.
I went from Air Force Basic Training in the Texas Desert to Korea / Japan, without watching TV.
So here I am today watching Aaron Sorkin’s brand new “Being The Ricardos”.
Sorkin, who won me over with the big, energetic and powerful “West Wing” wrote and directed this behind-the-scenes view of the “real” Lucy and Desi.
Sorkin’s movie gives us a beautifully shot shot, a look at a nerve-wracking week (with lots of flashbacks) with the famous couple and a few dozen directors / writers and directors including Nina Arianda, Tony Hale (“Veep”) , “Arrested Development”) and Alia Shawkat (“Arrested Development”).
“I Love Lucy” stars a famous redhead, Nicole Kidman, playing another famous redhead, Lucille Ball Ricardo, and doing a fabulous job.
She makes everything work and almost keeps the movie from becoming a very long, charming, boring boredom.
Sorkin gives us a Desi, the Cuban nightclub artist, played by Javier Bardem who aside from a handful of romantic comedies played a psychotic killer, who kills victims with a cattle rifle in “No Country For Old. Men “.
This is where, for this writer, the film turns really bad.
Javier, a very good strong actor works very hard on his portrayal of Desi, but if you were lucky enough to see Javier as a confused lover working with Penelope Cruz in Woody Allen’s charming “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” in 2008 or as the killer chill “Chigurh” in the chilling “No Country for Old Men” by the Cohen brothers, you will understand.
Javier, unfortunately, makes real Desi look like a Cuban Tony Hale, but what are you going to do? Sorkin needed these two mighty stars.
JK Simmons (“Juno”, “Spiderman”) here plays a very thin Bill Frawley, who we now learn was a cranky alcoholic, happy to have the job. Simmons is so good he can do it all.
Nina Arianda, the wonderful actress who seduced in “Billions” on television, embodies a refined and prettier Vivian Vance.
“Ricardos” is sleek, polished, full of good actors and seemingly precise. It’s just not very exciting. But it’s up to you to be the judge.
“Being the Ricardos” is currently airing on Amazon’s Prime Video.
JP Devine de Waterville is a former theater and film actor.