The Rat Pack (1998)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Biopic [feature], Showbiz Drama  |   Release Date - Aug 22, 1998 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 120 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Little more than a gossipy trip down memory lane, Rob Cohen's Rat Pack is elevated by its performers. Ray Liotta, Joe Mantegna, and Don Cheadle do fine work as, respectively, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr. Mantegna, who also did the singing for his character, gets at the truth that was far different from Martin's public image. Cheadle communicates real stress and pain in the life of the continually harassed Davis, while also capturing the ease and joy of the performer on stage. Liotta cannot hope to capture the particular qualities of Sinatra that made him a star, almost no actor could, but he does provide a solid center for the film. The material about JFK, RFK, Ava Gardner, and Marilyn Monroe all plays like little more than an expensive episode of Behind the Music, but when these men (along with Angus MacFadyen as Peter Lawford and Bobby Slayton as Joey Bishop) are depicted together the film finds life. The cast should be applauded for capturing the rhythm of the performers they are portraying, even if they have not been given material worthy of those performances.