Wednesday, 18 November 2009

What Just Happened: Movie Review

What Just Happened: Movie Review

Rating: 6/10
Cast: Robert de Niro, John Turturro, Bruce Willis, Catherine Keener, Kristen Stewart
Director: Barry Levinson
Robert De Niro stars as Ben, a fading Hollywood producer whose star is clearly in the descent.
As the film opens, Ben's just witnessed his latest film, Fiercely starring Sean Penn, being savaged at a test screening - and he knows this could signal the end of his time at the top.
As if that wasn't bad enough he's having trouble with his ex Kelly (Robin Wright Penn) and to give him a trio of troubles, his attempts to get Bruce Willis to shave off his bushy beard so their latest project isn't canned are not going well.
So as Ben tries to negotiate all of these hurdles, it's clear something's going to have to give - can he claw his way back to the top before he's consigned to the showbiz dustbin?
What Just Happened isn't a bad film; it's just not as savage as it could be - while Penn and Willis play themselves, De Niro seems to play another more chilled out version of himself as he tries to juggle all the respective balls.
Given how successful The Player was at doing this kind of satire years ago(and it's inevitable these two will be compared) I have to admit I was expecting a little more caustic wit and biting satire about the industry.
This is not that kind of film and at times plays more like a screwball comedy - I get De Niro's character has aggro from two ex wives, Hollywood studio producers and cantankerous actors but I very rarely felt for him or rooted for him to overcome the odds.

De Niro does a fair job as Ben and there's a reasonable attempt to show Bruce in a bad light, but unfortunately What Just Happened is a bit of a disappointment.

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