In case you don’t remember or weren’t born yet, a helpful opening title card in Bobby reminds us that “1968 was a year of political and social turmoil in America.” Emilio Estevez, who directed, wrote and costars in this embarrassment, was not quite six when Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on June 5 of that tumultuous year. Perhaps that’s why his film has all the political and narrative sophistication of a child.
Assembling a multiracial, multigenerational cast of zillions as RFK workers (the revered politician is shown in archival clips), Ambassador employees and hotel guests whose lives intersect, Crash-like, on the day of the killing, Estevez utilizes the favorite trope of naive screenwriters: Life Lessons Learned, their wearying obviousness underscored even further by the redundant pop nuggets chosen to amplify the scenes. Cue Donovan’s “Season of the Witch” for LSD freak-outs, “The Sound of Silence” right before Kennedy is gunned down. (Sadly, the presence of Sharon Stone, made up to look like Dusty Springfield after a bad, bad night, does not guarantee “Wishin’ and Hopin’.”) The most significant lesson learned? This movie about ’68 should have been eighty-sixed. (Opens Fri; AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13.) — Melissa Anderson