January 26, 2015

Think Before You Speak: America's Sweethearts (2001)

We have all said something that we wish we could take back; especially when it comes to exes. I like to call it "foot in mouth syndrome." Some of us have a more chronic condition than others, and unfortunately unlike the common cold or seasonal flu, there is no vaccination for it. The only way to cure ourselves of "foot in mouth syndrome" is to simply think before we speak. Otherwise, we'll all continue to find ourselves living in a state of regret of our verbal mishaps. The satire America's Sweethearts (2001) is a great reminder of why we all should be careful to think before we speak, because not doing so causes too much unnecessary conflict and misunderstandings.
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In the movie America's Sweethearts (2001), movie stars and estranged couple Gwen Harrison (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and Eddie Thomas (John Cusack) are brought together after over a year of separation to promote their final film project together. Despite their hesitation in joining the other for the press junket to promote their film, they ultimately decide to do so; which turns the press junket into a dramatic debacle of cinematic proportions. However, all is not lost as a result of their time together, particularly once the dust settles from the litany of inappropriate remarks and heated exchanges between Gwen and Eddie as well as everyone else involved in their final project.

From the beginning of the movie, it was clear that Eddie still had a lot of unresolved issues with his estranged wife, Gwen, as a result of her cheating on him. The near mention of Gwen's name still conjured up negative emotions and unpleasant remarks that he often found himself regretting even as the words were flying out of his mouth. Gwen, on the other hand, had seemingly moved on and was still in a relationship with Hector (Hank Azaria); the guy she originally cheated on Eddie with. Until, of course, she had to promote her last film with Eddie, which just so happens to be her one last hail Mary to save her own fledgling movie career. At that point, Gwen herself starts to become unhinged, citing concerns over being around her ex for fear that he may attempt to kill her again as he allegedly did before entering the treatment facility. Luckily for the both of them there were others around to buffer the situation, particularly Kathleen "Kiki" Harrison (Julia Roberts), Gwen's sister/assistant.

In the end, after a public spectacle that included verbal sparring in front of the press core following the preview of their film, Gwen and Eddie were able to find their own happy endings. Eddie was finally able to profess his love for Kiki after years of secretly suppressing his feelings for her and Gwen was able to create a renewed interest in her once dimming Hollywood star, which was all she really cared about anyway. 

This movie is a great reminder that even in situations like confronting an ex after a bad breakup it is always best to think before you speak. While Gwen and Eddie had it out in front of the press core that were undoubtedly taking notes to publish a story about their public spectacle, you and I may find ourselves in our own unique set of embarrassing circumstances as a result of our own verbal mishaps. Since living without regret is the most optimal choice, thinking before we speak is one of the best ways to ensure this. Wouldn't you agree?

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