There is a great story to be told about L.A.’s Ambassador Hotel on June 4, 1968. Unfortunately for Bobby director Emilio Estevez, there are not 22 of them. On that day, the once-majestic hotel is bustling with activity, as plans are finalized for Robert Kennedy’s ill-fated California-primary bash. Estevez, who earnestly shares that ”I’ve been preparing to do this movie my whole life” in ”Bobby: The Making of an American Epic,” introduces nearly two dozen hotel employees and guests on their collision courses with infamy. But Estevez rotates from one underdeveloped character to another, and each one’s sole dramatic purpose seems to be justifying the subsequent tangential cipher. Only the bustling kitchen — where the chef (Laurence Fishburne) pontificates on race and a Mexican busboy (Freddy Rodriguez) stews over missing the Dodgers game — serves up compelling characters and drama. The story ends in that kitchen, and for many, Kennedy wasn’t the greatest casualty: ”The series of assassinations destroyed the fabric of this country’s belief in itself,” says Harry Belafonte, who plays a hotel regular. In ”Eyewitness Accounts From the Ambassador Hotel,” Paul Schrade, the United Auto Workers rep who was injured in the shooting, wistfully claims Kennedy would’ve been the rare ”president of all of us.” RFK’s clips and voice-overs somewhat salvage the frayed threads of 22 hectic lives, but Estevez’s effort mostly falls flat. C-
Genre: Drama; Starring: Emilio Estevez, William H. Macy, Demi Moore, Laurence Fishburne, Anthony Hopkins, Lindsay Lohan, Sharon Stone, Elijah Wood; Director: Emilio Estevez; Author: Emilio Estevez; Release Date Limited: 11/17/2006; Release Date Wide: 11/23/2006; Runtime (in minutes): 111; MPAA Rating: R; Distributor: The Weinstein Company
Posted April 12 2007 — 12:00 AM EDT
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