Laura Linney and Bill Murray play in ineffective The King’s Speech wannabe Hyde Park On Hudson.
HYDE PARK ON HUDSON (Roger Michell). 96 minutes. Opens Friday (December 14). For venues and times, see listing. Rating: NN
In 1939, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth spent a weekend at Franklin D. Roosevelt's estate in the hopes of getting the president to pledge U.S. support in the coming war. Also present was FDR's cousin (and lover) Daisy, whose diaries provide the factual basis for this shameless King's Speech wannabe.
Directed by Notting Hill's Roger Michell as a sprightly period comedy with hand-jobs, Hyde Park On Hudson is more concerned with historical pageantry than actual drama, forever imagining the conversations of its famous characters behind closed doors.
Laura Linney's Daisy serves as narrator and audience surrogate, but the movie has no time for her, being much more interested in the scenes between Bill Murray's paternal FDR and Samuel West's insecure George, which are clearly meant to echo the interplay between Geoffrey Rush and Colin Firth. Olivia Colman gets to have a little fun as Elizabeth; Murray's Rushmore co-star Olivia Williams, as Eleanor Roosevelt, does not.
Every moment is calculated to appeal to the mainstream American audience that embraced The King's Speech. Why else would the English characters use the term "stutter" instead of "stammer" in reference to George's famous speech impediment? Seriously, that's just insulting.