Confusion Reigns in Hollywood; Executive Stress: Bruce Willis (as Himself), Robert De Niro as Ben, John Turturro as Dick Bell and Stanley Tucci as Scott Solomon

Article excerpt

What Just Happened? Cert 15, 102 mins HH???

In 2002, Art Linson wrote a funny, shocking memoir about his escapades as a Hollywood producer. This is the condensed, fictional version. Linson himself wrote the script yet something, everything in fact, has been lost in translation.

Robert De niro plays the Linson-like Ben, a middle-aged, seen-it-all executive with two big headaches. His new arty action film, Fiercely, is testing badly with audiences no one likes the bit where Sean Penns dog gets shot. So the studio bosses, led by a ball-breaker (Catherine Keener), demand a re-cut, which in turn causes the films British director (Michael Wincott) to have a fit.

Meanwhile, a pending project involving Bruce Willis may be cancelled because Bruce has been pigging out and wont shave his beard. The press agent Dick (John Turturro) refuses to confront his biggest client so its up to our hero to tackle the animal head-on.

Poor Ben. Poor us: neither of these disasters is remotely involving. If the point of the Fiercely story is that pretentious directors enjoy fighting pointless battles, it leads to a dead end. Back in the real world, Linson worked on films such as David Finchers Fight Club; pictures that did indeed get censored by nervy studio heads but that seem worthy of blood, sweat and tears. …


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