Time: 118 mins.
SYNOPSIS: A swinging study of "Mack the Knife" singer Bobby Darin as he tries to juggle his driving need to be famous with his relationship with his equally ambitious wife Sandra Dee.
BOTTOM LINE: The one thing Spacey makes abundantly clear through this homage to Darin is how much he admires him. Which isn't to say that this is a light and fluffy version of the crooner's life. Sure, breaking into song and dance to express Darin's feelings, alters the tone just a smidge, yet his joys and heartache are exposed to the bone for all the world to see. And he had certainly had more downs than ups. Besides you can't make a movie about a famous singer without showing them plying their trade and Bobby was one of the best of his era, even though he never gained much critical respect.
The bulk of the film is straight drama. The musical sequences are mostly used as transitions moving Bobby between major life moments and are choreographed with great style and pizazz, showcasing the clothes, dance and music of each era of his life. What fails to work is Spacey's interpretation of Darin, which for the first two-thirds of the film comes off as more an imitation than an in-depth performance. His Bobby lacks any subtlety and while charming and flamboyant, it's not until the final acts that he becomes human. Then you see the person behind the unrelenting showman, but it comes a bit too late to really uplift the effort.
Bosworth shows real range as the outwardly perky Sandra Dee, a woman with a perfect smile and a heart of stone who wants nothing more than to be taken seriously. It's easy to see why Darin and Dee fell for each other talent and beauty will sucker you in every time and equally apparent why they should never have gotten married. Two people with such high ambitions can never be happy unless they're the one on top, creating a relationship based on competition instead of admiration. They are doomed from the get go and it's this portion of the film that really exposes the price of fame and how it changes people. Despite their age difference, they have great chemistry and you truly feel sad as their relationship hits the rocks.
Wonderful art direction that beautifully captures the time period and an extremely talented supporting cast add even more class to this musical melodrama. If you're into tales of forture, fame and failure and don't mind a little song and dance then you will be amply entertained by this affair.