Recent disclosures about the shady ways Sony Pictures marketed some movies makes the studio's new release America's Sweethearts more topical than anyone expected from a lightweight romantic comedy. The setting is a fawning media junket promoting the latest film starring actors Gwen Harrison (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and Eddie Thomas (John Cusack). Gwen and Eddie are married, but separated after her affair with a co-star (Hank Azaria). But, the show _ and the hype _ must go on. Keeping these tempers cool is the duty of Gwen's sister Kiki (Julia Roberts), a publicist with her hands full. Especially when she falls in love with Eddie. Co-producer and co-writer Billy Crystal co-stars as a veteran press agent. Expect America's Sweethearts to take the usual swipes at Hollywood egos, plus the glad-handing junket media inflating them. Don't expect Sony to remind viewers about fictitious film critics and bogus testimonials. A review will appear in Friday's Floridian section.
_ STEVE PERSALL, Times film critic