Rules Don't Apply

Critics Consensus

With Rules Don't Apply, Warren Beatty takes an overall affable -- but undeniably slight -- look at a corner of old Hollywood under Howard Hughes' distinctive shadow.



Total Count: 175


Audience Score

User Ratings: 3,548
User image

Rules Don't Apply Videos

Rules Don't Apply Photos

Movie Info

An aspiring young actress (Lily Collins) and her ambitious young driver (Alden Ehrenreich) struggle hopefully with the absurd eccentricities of the wildly unpredictable billionaire Howard Hughes (Warren Beatty) for whom they work. It's Hollywood, 1958. Small town beauty queen, songwriter, and devout Baptist virgin Marla Mabrey (Collins), under contract to the infamous Howard Hughes (Beatty), arrives in Los Angeles. At the airport, she meets her driver Frank Forbes (Ehrenreich), who is engaged to be married to his 7th grade sweetheart and is a deeply religious Methodist. Their instant attraction not only puts their religious convictions to the test, but also defies Hughes' #1 rule: no employee is allowed to have any relationship whatsoever with a contract actress. Hughes' behavior intersects with Marla and Frank in very separate and unexpected ways, and as they are drawn deeper into his bizarre world, their values are challenged and their lives are changed.

Watch it now


Warren Beatty
as Howard Hughes
Lily Collins
as Marla Mabrey
Alden Ehrenreich
as Frank Forbes
Matthew Broderick
as Levar Mathis
Alec Baldwin
as Bob Maheu
Annette Bening
as Lucy Mabrey
Candice Bergen
as Nadine Henly
Dabney Coleman
as Raymond Holiday
Steve Coogan
as Colonel Nigel Briggs
Ed Harris
as Mr. Bransford
Oliver Platt
as Forester
Martin Sheen
as Noah Dietrich
Taissa Farmiga
as Sarah Bransford
View All

News & Interviews for Rules Don't Apply

Critic Reviews for Rules Don't Apply

All Critics (175) | Top Critics (40)

  • A richly satirical portrait of American double standards.

    Apr 28, 2017 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • If Hughes's problem is the lack of anyone with the balls to tell him not to be so damned silly, the symbiosis between character and creator is perfect.

    Apr 21, 2017 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…
  • It's a plodding, plonking, clonking, clanking vanity project, watching which is like drowning in suet or being alone for two hours in the kind of airless hotel room that Hughes reputedly holed up in.

    Apr 21, 2017 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…
  • This is Warren Beatty's first film as director in almost 20 years and it really wasn't worth the wait.

    Apr 20, 2017 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

    Ed Potton

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • An experimental, breathless, and messy passion project demanding of repeat viewings.

    Apr 20, 2017 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • If Rules Don't Apply is merely a nostalgic love letter to Beatty's early days as an actor in the years before 1961's Splendor in the Grass made him an international sex symbol, that's enough. Give it a whirl. You'll be time traveling with one of the best.

    Dec 5, 2016 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Rules Don't Apply

  • May 30, 2018
    Flying quite a bit lower than The Aviator in terms of scope and entertainment value, Warren Beatty's lightly comic take on Howard Hughes charts a sometimes enjoyable - though not always breezy - old H'Wood romp. This PG-13-rated comedy presents the unconventional love story of an aspiring actress (Lily Collins), her ambitious driver (Alden Ehrenreich), and their eccentric boss (Beatty), the legendary billionaire Howard Hughes. The good news is: Rules Don't Apply ranks better than Beatty's last two turns in the director's chair (Love Affair, Town & Country). The bad news is: this ain't Heaven Can Wait (which hasn't aged well) or even Bulworth (which has improved exponentially with age, but more on that later), the two entries on his director/star CV that also qualify as out-and-out comedies. In an unparalleled H'Wood career that astoundingly bridged the Studio era (Splendor in the Grass, Bonnie & Clyde) with the Maverick '70s (Shampoo, McCabe & Mrs. Miller) and continued through the rise of independent cinema (Dick Tracy, Bugsy), this star simply has little - if nothing - left to prove. He's the living legend who made Reds, for Chrissakes. He wouldn't benefit from, say, showy Oscar noms in the December of his years a la Christopher Plummer (Beginners, All the Money in the World). Mind you, such a feat wouldn't be beneath him. Rather, he's an icon who's already accomplished so much that such prizes wouldn't really matter in the grand scheme of things. For him to make a film like Rules Don't Apply means that he's either bored, has a strong interest in the fascinatingly enigmatic Hughes, or probably a little bit of both. It's as if Beatty wondered what the lift of the eccentric billionaire would look like through the lens of Preston Sturges. With this basic framework in place, he puts a screwball love triangle at the center and lets the comedy least in parts. Oftentimes clunky, the pacing of Rules Don't Apply just isn't consistently fun or fast-paced enough. Perhaps, he should've emulated Sturges' style a little closer. Rules Don't Apply certainly has its moments though. Most of these moments come courtesy of the casting, which sees Ehrenreich, Collins, and a dynamite supporting cast shine even when the shenanigans slog along. Also, from set design to costuming to music to the photography - his crew nails the look and feel of the '50s. For a film with the title "Rules Don't Apply," however, Beatty's latest doesn't really take chances. Remember, this is the director who gave audiences the edgy and prescient political comedy Bulworth, which makes a hell of a lot more sense now than it did in 1998 and it made a lot of sense then. Rather, what results is a throwback that plays it safe. With better editing, it could've instead played it for laughs which was the whole damn point. To Sum It Up: Retro Ill-Fitted
    Jeff B Super Reviewer
  • Apr 22, 2017
    More humorous than I expected. It's kind of a mess, but I still admire Beatty's bizarre vision.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Feb 22, 2017
    At the core of this slice of late 50's, early 60's Hollywood is, tah-dah, (of course) a love story. Unfortunately both of our young lovers come off as opportunistic wannabes, particularly when played against the always-in-shadow Howard Hughes (writer/director/producer Beatty) who seems bewildered as to why they seem bewildered over being played so, um, ruthlessly. And he does play them both. Sucks all the charm right out of the thing. Somehow Annette Bening escapes as the only sympathetic character onscreen and she's only there for a minute.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Nov 27, 2016
    Rules Don't Apply is a film that fails on just about every conceivable level. The only good thing I can say about it is, that it's probably one of Lily Collins better performances, too bad it's wasted in this punchbowl of a film. The flaws are simply too much for you to take it seriously on any level. It's like someone decided to do a 1950s love story and a Hollywood Biopic and failed to do either one properly. It's ironic that this film is about a Hollywood Legend who's trying to be the boss while whacked outta his mind because after watching this movie, I think it's time for Warren Beatty to enjoy the rest of his life at home before he gets sectioned.
    Jacob S Super Reviewer

Rules Don't Apply Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

News & Features