Beyond The Sea Movie Review

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This Bobby Darin biopic reportedly spent about 20 years going through various drafts by many different screenwriters -- including James Toback and Paul Schrader -- before Kevin Spacey grabbed it and made it all his own.

Borrowing more than just a little from Bob Fosse's "All That Jazz," the co-writer, director and star sets his film in a kind of flashback/dream structure in which Darin (Spacey) talks with himself as a little kid. This non-reality also allows for the 45 year-old actor to play Darin, who died at age 37, throughout his career.

Spacey's Darin thinks very highly of himself; when he snatches up teen heartthrob Sandra Dee (Kate Bosworth) as his wife, it feels more like trophy gathering than romance. Yet Spacey's own gigantic hubris fits the part perfectly, and when Darin grouses about not winning the Oscar for "Captain Newman, M.D.," you can feel Spacey going through the same thing. When Spacey sings in Darin's voice, it's an act of supreme ego; he's as sure of his Darin impersonation as he is of his own greatness, and it works.

One thing "Beyond the Sea" is not, and that's small. It's a monstrous guilty pleasure for people who want to see a whole movie akin to asparagus scene in "American Beauty," with Spacey Acting with a capital A. He has been in a bad slump of self-seriousness for years now, and while "Beyond the Sea" isn't exactly a comeback, at least it shows the real Spacey sounding his mighty yawp.

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Beyond The Sea Rating

" OK "

Rating: PG-13, NY/LA: Friday, December 17, 2004 EXPANDS: Wednesday, December 29, 2004

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