After nearly two decades of retirement, Warren Beatty’s return to prominence with Rules Don’t Apply is a warm and welcome one. The film serves as a reminder of Beatty’s talents, and while his quirks as a director may be difficult to grow accustomed to, the film is charming in its strange amalgamation of ridiculous comedy and genuine sincerity. There’s so much energy within the story that it never grows tiresome, and the characters are ones that grow and develop across the course of the film.
Marla Mabrey (Lily Collins) is an aspiring actress who journeys to Hollywood to fulfill her dreams when she’s hired by Howard Hughes (Warren Beatty). Mabrey is driven around by Frank Forbes (Alden Ehrenreich), Hughes’s top cab driver, and as the two fall in love, Hughes’s madness begins to be unveiled. Collins is charming here and Ehrenreich is effortlessly charismatic and relatable, but this is Beatty’s movie; he perfectly captures Hughes as a personality, giving an eccentric and egregiously enjoyable performance.
It’s not a short film, but a wealth of supporting characters and cameos add constant surprise to each scene. While there’s certainly an emphasis on humor, the film’s emotional core, focusing on Marla and Frank’s relationship, becomes surprisingly effective towards the closing of the film. It’s an utterly unique film, a genuine comeback from an industry legend. Grade: -A