From director Amy Poehler, Lucy and Desi explores the unlikely partnership and enduring legacy of one of the most prolific power couples in entertainment history. Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz risked everything to be together. Their love for each other led to the most influential show in the history of television, I Love Lucy. Desi — an immigrant from Cuba who lost everything in exile, became a band leader, and eventually a brilliant producer and technical pioneer. Lucille came from nothing and, with an unrivaled work ethic, built a career as a model, chorus girl and eventually as an actor in the studio system. She found her calling in comedy, first in radio. When Lucille was finally granted the opportunity to have her own television show, she insisted that her real-life spouse, Desi, be cast as her husband. Defying the odds, they re-invented the medium, on the screen and behind the cameras. The foundation of I Love Lucy was the constant rupture and repair of unconditional love. What Lucy and Desi couldn’t make work with each other, they gave to the rest of the world. Lucy and Desi is an insightful and intimate peek behind the curtain of these two remarkable trailblazers — featuring interviews with Lucie Arnaz Luckinbill, Norman Lear, Desi Arnaz Jr, Carol Burnett and Bette Midler.

Lucy and Desi

By Heather S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

Lucy and Desi is a mediocre take on a story fans have heard millions of times! Throughout the film, you’ll be craving a sense of something new and fresh, but unfortunately this film simply doesn’t deliver anything worthwhile. 

Lucy and Desi is a documentary that tells the story of two of the biggest comedians in television, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. The film provides behind-the-scenes clips of the hit show I Love Lucy, video recordings of Lucy and Desi throughout the years, and sit-down talks with some of their closest friends like Carol Burnett and Bette Midler.

This film falls flat for several reasons. The story of Lucy and Desi has been told too many times for this documentary to provide anything new or exciting. The timing of its release is unfortunate as another film on the two stars, from the same studio, Being the Ricardos, came out only a few months ago. Lucy and Desi fails to differentiate any information from what the biographical drama gave audiences.  Lucy and Desi feels like a watered down version of its predecessors and is unable to engage its viewers. However, it does have some incredible cameos like those by Carol Burnett, Bette Midler and Norman Lear. They give some anecdotes that not many fans have heard and will definitely leave you wanting to hear more of their relationship with Lucy and Desi, which this film does not deliver. The greatest part about the documentary is the romance between Lucille and Desi—their pictures and video clips show a love that is timeless.

The film’s main focus is the love of Desi and Lucy, how they were able to create a fantastic and iconic series, and still be in love off camera. There are no warnings for this documentary. 

I give Lucy and Desi 3 out of 5 stars, and recommend it for ages 15 to 18, plus adults. It is being released in theaters and on Amazon Prime Video March 4, 2022. 

Keywords: Lucie Arnaz, Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Bette Midler, Carol Burnett, Lauren LaPlaca, Ay Poehler, Justin Wilkes, Jeanne Elfant Festa, Nigel Sinclair, mark Monroe


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