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Nov 11, 2008

Fletch's Mini Film Review: What Just Happened?

Robert DeNiro heads a game cast including Sean Penn and Bruce Willis playing alternate versions of themselves in Barry Levinson's latest satire. DeNiro plays Ben, a producer constantly battling to climb the literally slippery Hollywood power slope. He's juggling his priorities between a drugged out British director (Michael Wincott) that's made either the best or most offensive film of the year, a studio head (Catherine Keener) more than willing to toss him aside if he can't make her happy, an ex-wife he hopes to reconcile with (or at least sleep with), a daughter he barely knows, Willis, and half the rest of the greater Los Angeles area.

Unlike his gratingly self-referential turn in Ocean's Twelve, Willis is having a ball here playing an asshole, and it shows, from his wardrobe room temper tantrum to his Grant-like beard. DeNiro, meanwhile, has one of his best roles of the last decade - see what just happens when you don't always play a cop or a mobster? Stanley Tucci, John Turturro, and Robin Wright Penn co-star.

This is the type of film that has really no social significance outside of perhaps informing the general public as to what a producer really does, but is a ball nonetheless, especially for movie geeks and other folks that think they want to work in the business. It's a self-serving, lie-a-minute, snail-paced-while-seeming-fast affair, but those that live it wouldn't have it any other way.

Fletch's Film Rating:

"Darn tootin!"

3 people have chosen wisely: on "Fletch's Mini Film Review: What Just Happened?"

Jorn said...

Another De Niro comedy? I think I'll pass.

Daniel Getahun said...

Believe it or not, this is one I've passed up on multiple opportunities. No real reason, just seemed like there's always been something better ahead of it. I've heard good things though, good things (said with De Niro accent).

Fletch said...

Daniel - I had done the same. It was never a top priority, but with the Phx indie scene craaappp compared to yours, we had seen just about everything else that we wanted to. I think you'd enjoy it, though. It's a popcorn movie for movie geeks - can't go wrong with that.