Once upon a time, Eddie Thomas (Cusack) and Gwen Harris (Jones) were the Hollywood Golden Couple. They starred in several schlocky but profitable romantic movies that propelled them to superstardom. They were Americas Sweethearts
Until Gwen split... and took her new beau, Hector (Hank Azaria), with her. The breakup caused Eddie to have a nervous breakdown and retreat to a wellness center in the mountains, where hes been hiding from the outside world for a year.
Meanwhile, in a studio in the same town, Hollywood Executive David Kingman (Stanley Tucci) has called Lee Phillips (Crystal), Eddie and Gwens recently-fired publicist, to view the stars last film. The problem, and its a biggie, is the eccentric director, Hal Weidmann (Christopher Walken), hasnt sent it. And hes not going to... at least not until the press junket. David promises Lee his job back if he can salvage this mess. Step number one: Reunite Eddie and Gwen, at least briefly, for the junket and distract the press from the missing movie by making them believe the once-hot duo might get back together. To do this, hell recruit Gwens much-put-upon sister and assistant, Kiki (Roberts).
From there on its wooing the press, interview after interview, scandals involving cacti, dodging questions about a film no ones seen, and Hector unexpectedly showing up.
And then theres Kiki and her own feelings for Eddie. And those feelings could be mutual... if only he could stop obsessing over Gwen.
America's Sweethearts provides examples of:
- All There in the Manual / Word of God: It's never stated in the movie, but various sources say "Kiki" is short for "Kathleen."
- Alpha Bitch: It's implied that Gwen was one in high school with enough boyfriends to fill a phonebook. Kiki had to break up with them all.
- Analogy Backfire: One without the backfire actually pointed out but...Gwen, while delivering her usual BS to a member of the press, compares her relationship with Eddie to Sodom and Gomorrah. Oh really? The two cities God destroyed by raining down fire and brimstone to consume them? That Sodom and Gomorrah, Gwen? (Though given how badly her relationship ended, it may be more apt than she realizes.)
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Gwen to the movie going public. Kiki claims she had a "Miss Adorable Image" until her affair with Hector.
- The Cameo: Gwen loves Larry King. Spoiler, no she doesn't.
- Cassandra Truth: He fell into a cactus!
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: David. At the Hyatt bar after Eddie has just come out on the losing end of a brawl with Hector, David crows to Lee about all the success they've been having with the press. A tired Lee sarcastically suggests pushing Eddie into suicide. To which David says, "Imagine if he killed himself at the premiere." Seeing the look on Lee's face, he quickly tries to play it as a joke, but yeah. Not fooling anyone, Kingman.
- A Date with Rosie Palms: Two Security Guards think Eddie is "whacking it" outside Gwen's cabin. See Cassandra Truth.
- Latin Lover: Hector, literally for Gwen, as Hank Azaria lays on the Spanish accent thicker than Salmorejo.
- Nice Character, Mean Actor: Gwen. To a T (and combines with Bitch in Sheep's Clothing to be the point of the movie). She may play the sweet and gorgeous romantic lead on screen, but everybody around her, from her publicist to her lover, knows what a pain in the ass she is to deal with. She also thinks Kiki is this.
- Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: This exchange between Lee (Billy Crystal) and Danny (Seth Green).Lee: [on the phone] Hello, darling, can I get Holly Golightly's cottage, please? Thank you.Danny: Who's Holly Golightly?Lee: It's Gwen's code name. It's from "Breakfast at Tiffany's".Danny: Oh. What's that?Lee: It's a movie, a great movie. Hepburn?Danny: Right. Katharine.[pause]Lee: Let me tell you something. Don't tell anyone you're in the movie business. Okay? Thank you.
- Prima Donna Director: Hal Weidmann. He frustrates the living hell out of David but he's got the Oscars to back him up. He's also very eccentric, using the Unabomber's cabin as an office and holding Eddie and Gwen's final film hostage. When the film is finally shown in front of the press, it turns out he threw away the script, instead opting to film his actors and crew in secret, casting Gwen in a very bad light. When the lights go up, David is humiliated, Gwen is threatening legal action, and Eddie is already making plans to work with Hal again.
- Recycled In Space: In universe example. Eddie and Gwen's film, Time After Time or at least the movie they were supposed to make is a pretty obvious rip-off of Terminator with Nazis.
- Spoiled Brat: Gwen. She's whiny, self absorbed, neurotic, and incredibly fake in front of the press.
- Survival Mantra: When Eddie gets stressed or frustrated, he chants his to keep from knocking heads. Said mantra is listing all the things he's grateful for, like the cool breeze, the warm sun, etc. When he realizes the thing he's most grateful for is Kiki.
- Trailers Always Spoil: Eddie doesn't know that Kiki is the woman by the pool because he didn't see the trailer for this thing.
- Troubled Production: In-Universe. Gwen and Eddie's last movie is not only fraught with behind-the-scenes bickering over her affair, it's also over budget, behind schedule, and as Hal says, "The script [is] shit." Then the director holds the film hostage. And that's all before we even see what he did to the final product...
- Your Cheating Heart: Obviously Gwen's affair with Hector a year beforehand, something she barely tried to hide from her then-husband, is a major part of the plot. Karma! Seems Hector's not exactly the faithful type either though...)