Belfast Telegraph

Rules Don't Apply: This flawed biopic tests patience

 

By Damon Smith

Baptist beauty queen Marla Mabrey (Lily Collins) arrives in late Fifties Hollywood accompanied by her mother Lucy (Annette Bening) as the latest signing of RKO studios run by the elusive Howard Hughes (Warren Beatty).

The Mabreys' chauffeur, Frank Forbes (Alden Ehrenreich), is smitten with Marla, but fellow driver Levar Mathis (Matthew Broderick) reiterates strict rules against fraternising with the talent. Frank struggles to contain his desire while Marla makes a big impression on her employer.

As the philanthropist's mental state deteriorates and he fires long-time friend Noah Dietrich (Martin Sheen) as CEO of his father's company, Frank is ushered into Hughes' inner circle.

This is a wildly uneven portrait of Hughes, awkwardly positioned within a faltering comedy that tests the pious characters' faiths and our patience.

Two stars

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