In the '80s brat-pack schmaltz fest St. Elmo's Fire, a rain-soaked Emilio Estevez is catching his breath after stalking the girl of his dreams. When asked how he's doing, he replies, deadpan: "I'm obsessed. Thank you very much."
Twenty-two years later, Estevez is even more obsessed. Bobby is his baby. He wrote it. He directed it. He wears a sad mustache in it. His period piece ensemble is the most unabashedly earnest and nostalgic movie I have seen all year, and I loved every drop of it.
Bobby mixes archival footage of Robert F. Kennedy with tales of regular-folk drama unfolding at the Ambassador Hotel, all on day of the presidential candidate's assassination.
There's a wealthy couple who can't connect (Helen Hunt and Martin Sheen, easy and brilliant), a young couple getting married as a protest against the Vietnam War (Lindsay Lohan and Elijah Wood), kitchen staffers in love the Dodgers (Laurence Fishburne and Freddy Rodriguez) and old men who hang around in the lobby (Anthony Hopkins and Harry Belafonte).
No, that's not all! Don't forget hairdresser/emotional caretaker (Sharon Stone) dancing to the oldies and tending to a drunk singer (Demi Moore). And I won't even get started on Christian Slater's racist restaurant manager.
It's campy and dizzying. Every scene feels like the scene, and that momentum is key because some of Bobby is absolutely silly. Ashton Kutcher is nothing but over-the-top as a drug dealer, and Lohan and Wood struggle and stretch to find their way. The young things stumble; the veterans shine, and Bobby plays like an AARP-sponsored tribute to Hollywood experience.
With so many movies winking and aiming for clever, Bobby arrives sopping wet with nostalgia and earnestness. Kill your inner cynic and enjoy it. You'll be happy—and sad—that you did.