Being The Ricardos – The DVDfever Review – Amazon Prime – Nicole Kidman

Being the Ricardos

Being The Ricardos takes us behind the scenes of I Love Lucy, and the lives of the couple both offscreen and on, Lucille Ball (Nicole Kidman) and Desi Arnaz (Javier Bardem).

Back in those days, big sitcoms like I Love Lucy would get 60 millions viewers – or so we’re told from this, but Wikipedia states it got 17m viewers at most, so that’s one bit of early confusion for me.

Anyhoo, we’re told that it all ended when a gossip columnist called Walter Winchell came out with the words, “Lucille Ball is a communist”.

Ms Ball’s main sitcom was long before my time, but the title of this film is so-called because Ricardo was the couple’s surname in the show. Like a lot of what I saw in this film, I had to look it up online at the same time, so I could understand what was happening.

As for the allegations, I learned that when Lucille Ball originally registered to vote back in 1936, she stated her her party affiliation as “Communist”, yet denies these allegations.

At times, Being The Ricardos is fleshed out like a stage play, and I’m getting the impression while watching this, that you need to be fully au fait with the original show. For example, Wikipedia refers to The Mertzes, an older couple brought into the show, and the surname comes up along the way without any real introduction to those who aren’t familiar with it.

Along the way, this is very wordy at times, as actors play staff writers and other crew, giving their impressions of what it was like to work on the show, back in the day; we see the moment they first met, whilst working on a film, and began to fall in love; at one point, Lucy is pregnant and both her and Desi want to have the baby as part of the show; and later, she talks to the studio’s head of production with a view to become a movie star.

As well as her time coming before my time, in writing a script where Lucy treads grapes in Italy, for whatever reason, the audience find it hilarious. For me, it came across as ridiculously tame.

So, Being The Ricardos is not very accessible while watching it if you’re not familiar the leads’ lives and their work. As such, when everyone behind the scenes spends most of the time arguing with each other, I couldn’t get invested in it. It’s also not easy to work out precisely which year we’re in, as the script moves on, since it doesn’t give us any pointers onscreen.

As such, it’s confusing (when I looked up the following dates of release) when one bigwig criticises the lack of revenue from The Big Street (1942), whilst Ms Ball is well into shooting I Love Lucy (1951-1957). She’d made many more films inbetween those years, so why not mention those?

Then again, at the same time she’s referred to as being 39 years of age, which would make the year 1950… so, before her most famous show. Either way, Ms Kidman is 51, and has recently had some plastic surgery which makes her looks like she’s familiar with the pretend novel from Sean Hughes, My Life As A Startled Bunny.

As a result, the large amount of confusion also led to the same amount of boredom kicking in. I shouldn’t have to be looking up online encyclopaedias to try and understand the film I’m watching.

If you were a fan of the pair while they were alive, maybe you’ll get more out of this. Then again, if you were born around the same time as they were, chances are, you’re no longer alive to read this.

Thanks to our friends at Amazon Prime Video for the screener prior to release.

Being The Ricardos is on Amazon Prime Video from Tuesday December 21st. but the film isn’t yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD.

Being the Ricardos – Official Trailer – Amazon Prime

Detailed specs:

Running time: 132 minutes
Release date: December 21st 2021
Studio: Amazon Prime Video
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Rating: 3/10

Director: Aaron Sorkin
Producers: Desi Arnaz Jr, Lucie Arnaz, Todd Black, Jenna Block, Jason Blumenthal, Steve Tisch
Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin
Music: Daniel Pemberton

Lucille Ball: Nicole Kidman
Desi Arnaz: Javier Bardem
Vivian Vance: Nina Arianda
William Frawley: JK Simmons
Jess Oppenheimer – Older (80s): John Rubinstein
Madelyn Pugh: Alia Shawkat
Bob Carroll: Jake Lacy
Jess Oppenheimer: Tony Hale
Madelyn Pugh – Older (70s): Linda Lavin
Bob Carroll – Older (70s): Ronny Cox
Miss Rosen: Dana Lyn Baron
David Levy – CBS: Dan Sachoff
Joe Strickland – CBS: Nelson Franklin
Howards Wenke – CBS: Clark Gregg
Roger Otter – Phillip Morris: Jeff Holman
Mary Pat: Baize Buzan
Donald Glass: Christopher Denham
David Hart – CBS: Max Silvestri
Italian Woman: Renee Pezzotta
Announcer: Chris Wolfe
Chorus Girl Angie: Breanna Wing
Chorus Girl Daisy: Caroline Anderson
Chorus Girl Patty: Jamie Miller
Dresser: Gail Rastorfor
Irwin Gottlieb – Desilu Attorney: Russ Burd
Italian Bellman: Guido Cocomello
J Edgar Hoover (voice): John Funk
Charles Koerner: Brian Howe
Macy – CBS: Ron Perkins
Koerner’s Secretary: Angela Leib