Javier Bardem, left, and Breanna Wing in “Being the Ricardos” 2021. IMDb photo

It’s not that I didn’t “Love Lucy,” I didn’t know Lucy. I never saw the show when it began.

The show debuted in 1951, and was a big hit and ran until 1957.

I wasn’t watching television in those days.

I went from Air Force basic training in the Texas desert to Korea/Japan, with no TV to watch.

So here I am today watching Aaron Sorkin’s brand new “Being The Ricardos.”

Sorkin, who won me over with the great, energetic and powerful “West Wing,” wrote and directed this behind the scenes’ view of the “real” Lucy and Desi.

Sorkin’s film gives us a beautifully filmed shot, inside look at one nerve-wracking week (with plenty of flashbacks) with the famous couple and a couple dozen of the makers/writers and directors that include Nina Arianda, Tony Hale (“Veep”, “Arrested Development”) and Alia Shawkat (“Arrested Development”).

“I Love Lucy” stars one famous redhead, Nicole Kidman, playing another famous redhead, Lucille Ball Ricardo, and doing a fabulous job of it.

She does make it all work, and almost saves the film from becoming a very long, lovely, talky bore.

Sorkin gives us a Desi, the Cuban night club performer, played by Javier Bardem who, aside from a handful of romantic comedies, played a psychotic killer, who slays victims with a cattle gun in “No Country For Old Men.”

This is where, for this writer, the film goes really wrong.

Javier, a very good, strong actor works very hard at his portrayal of Desi, but if you were lucky enough to see Javier as a befuddled lover working with Penelope Cruz in Woody Allen’s 2008 charming “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” or as the cold killer “Chigurh” in the Cohen Brother’s chilling “No Country for Old Men,” you’ll understand.

Javier, sadly, makes the real Desi look like a Cuban Tony Hale, but what are you going to do? Sorkin needed these two powerful stars.

J.K. Simmons (“Juno”, “Spiderman”) is here playing a much slimmed down Bill Frawley, who, we now learn, was a grumpy, happy to have the job, alcoholic. Simmons is so good he could do anything.

Nina Arianda, the marvelous actor who seduced in television’s “Billions,” plays a slimmed down, prettier Vivian Vance.

“Ricardos” is sleek, polished, full of good actors, and apparently, accurate. It’s just not very exciting. But it’s yours to judge.

“Being the Ricardos” streams currently on Amazon’s Prime Video.

J.P. Devine of Waterville is a former stage and screen actor.

filed under: