I'll Do Anything (1994) Poster

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Irony Incarnate
knightm73 December 2004
This is a movie about making movies and standing up for your beliefs and not having to bow down under the pressures of audience expectations and studio involvements, and it had musical numbers which were cut and writers come in to dumb it down because of audience expectations and studio involvements.

But I found all that out after I first saw the movie and thought it was great entertainment. I love Nick Nolte, he's so grave and gruff and depressed that I hope he doesn't kill himself cause I really like everything he's done, even The Hulk, and especially Affliction and that Martin Short with a kid movie. Joely Richardson is gorgeous! Julie Kavner and James Brooks are great. I highly recommend this film, and hope to see it again soon on DVD with all of the deleted scenes.
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Typical James L. Brooks
David Vanholsbeeck14 July 2000
This movie has really got the "Brooks Touch" and that's a very good thing. I can't understand why this has got such a low ratings on the IMDB, or why it is so little known. Like AS GOOD AS IT GETS and the even better, but overall largely underrated TERMS OF ENDEARMENT, this again is a wonderful story about real people. And when Brooks is in the director's seat, you know this film isn't going to take the easy way. I can only recommend this movie, especially because of the many lovely moments and the excellent dialogue. My only complaint is that some of the dialogue is a bit too smart for its own good and that it doesn't always ring true. The actors are very good too, especially Nick Nolte, Joely Richardson and the young Whittni Wright(who is wonderful). They're not the really big names, like in the two aforementioned movies, but they did a very good job. Also look out for the character played by Albert Brooks, which is very familiar with Jack Nicholson's character in AS GOOD AS IT GETS. It almost seems a trademark of James L. Brooks, who keeps delivering the goods with his original and always fresh romantic comedies. Don't miss this one! 8/10
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A dance without a song
Prismark1010 January 2014
Writer & Director James L Brooks has a very sure touch when it comes to movies. I'll do anything was conceived as an old fashioned musical and parody of actor's lifestyles and film clichés.

Test audiences were not impressed with the film and at the time musical films were out of fashion. I presume the songs were actually rubbish which tends to be the case with a lot of musical films.

Re-cut and re-edited, this is now a straight story with Nick Nolte, playing Matt Hobbs, a once promising actor who has not managed to get a regular acting gig in some time, ends up driving around an arrogant film producer (Albert Brooks).

Things take a turn when his ex-wife dumps their daughter Jeannie on Matt for what he thinks is for a few weeks but turns out to be longer as she is off to jail. His daughter is used to getting her own way and he is not used to fatherhood.

His career may have some brightness as he gets friendly with with attractive production assistant (Joely Richardson) who has a script idea and thinks Matt could be the lead actor.

The film was hampered from the start with its production troubles. Nick Nolte does well as a down on his luck actor with a brat of daughter and trying to bond with her whilst dealing with machinations of the film industry.

Where Brooks succeeded so well when he turned his eye on TV news with Broadcast News, the story here is not strong enough and although the actors try hard the film comes off as hollow.
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Brooks' Bosses Decide To Not Do `Anything'
tedg19 July 2002
Warning: Spoilers
Spoilers herein.

There's a remarkably intelligent film hidden in here. I love watching old Welles films and trying to imagine the parts that the studios hacked out. And so here. The original idea was to have a deeply self-aware film, moreso than `The Player.' It was to have leveraged the shift inherent in a film musical : at some times, the audience is invited to see the story as representative of life, and at other times as representative of a show. Brooks puts tons of this stuff in `The Simpsons' and one can see the notion in his other TeeVee projects as well.

But as I gather, this was actually supposed to be intelligent. Prince at this point was into self-referential songs and apparently increased the folding of an already baroque structure of who's looking at who. But (as with Welles), the studio financiers thought the paying audience was too dumb for all that, so brought in script doctor Elaine May (She of `Ishtar,' but nonetheless famously valuable as an invisible fixer).

She straightened this film out so that a moron could understand it. Now it is not about the film business, but an ordinary sop about a dad discovering his precocious daughter. But you can see the joints where clever stuff might have been and the notion that parenting is a performance.

They have kept one memorable Nolte moment. He is preparing to transform to a role. Watch how he changes, and also plays the meta-actor managing that change, and at the same time plays Nolte creating all three. It is his finest moment on film. I wonder if we will ever see the original version?

Ted's Rating -- 2 of 4: Has some interesting elements.
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renaldo and clara7 September 2000
This is one of those 'greater than the sum of its parts' movie, where you can't quite put your finger on why it's so great, but it just is.

The set of this movie must've motivated these actors to beyond their usual performances..........maybe because the script is so great(they all get their shots at character development..... I can think of 5.)

There's Nick Nolte, I've never DISliked him, but his physique combined with his sweet fatherly attitude makes for the perfect combination; it makes him very attractive. Joely Richardson I've only seen in one other movie, but she keeps you interested in her character all the way through, however quirky, weird, or whimsical. Nolte's daughter (Wright) is SO believable as the spoiled little rich girl, brought up by man-hater Tracy Ullman (!)'s character as mom. The two other characters are supporting; one is that lady who does Marge Simpson's voice, and her love interest. All these characters develop and learn.

This film also ironically gives insight into the film industry, and how truly unglamorous Hollywood can be. Nick Nolte must cry in a room full of people withOUT the director even being there, a group of ladies who work in casting are asked, when deciding yay-or nay on this actor, if they would sleep with him.

But in the end, it stays true to its source, meaning it doesn't look completely down at Hollywood or anything else. It's just a really adorable feel-good movie.

Did I mention adorable?

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Nick Nolte and THAT KID are terrific!
aussiejane_1 November 2000
Although I found the movie a bit frenetic, it seemed to have a ring of truth about how things work in Hollywood (especially the "Would you sleep with him?" scene). Nick Nolte keeps everything going, as usual, with his marvelous acting. Is there any other "big guy" actor who can cry believably (well, maybe Harrison Ford)? He was just terrific, so believable as the father who didn't know what to do with his spoiled brat daughter. And wasn't Whittni Wright amazing? I can only hope that was acting, as I've seen plenty of kids just like her. The supporting cast was terrific. It was hard to pinpoint what there was about this movie that made it not quite so good as it could have been. Perhaps it was that it really was an "in-house" film, one that anyone who has been through what the various characters have could identify with, but perhaps not us out in the hinterlands (coming from Wyoming to Australia, I'm definitely hinterland!). Kudos to actors and director for keeping this film together. With lesser talent, it could have fallen flat on its face.
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Good One!
jc-curtis21 August 2005
I saw this movie recently on cable TV and liked it a lot . I was looking for something other than the usual action/shootout/special effect types and ended up selecting this one. I'm glad I did. The supporting actors were excellent and Nick Nolte & Whittni Wright were outstanding in their roles. It was refreshing to see Nolti do this type of thing, although I'm not surprised that he did it well. He's an actor who has, over time, honed his skills to an art form. I'm not sure that he is appreciated as much as he should be. Anyway, in my opinion, "I'll do Anything" is underrated here. I give this flick a high mark and hope that my participation in the "vote" will raise the average score of this fine movie. For those who have had their fill of movies that focus on violence, try this delightful James L Brooks production for a change of pace. Or if you simply want to watch a movie that entertains... go for this one.
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A gem, despite its shortcomings - *possible spoilers*
MeinFuhrerICanWalk1 September 2003
Warning: Spoilers
This is one of those movies that I have grown to love almost inspite of itself. Yes, it's haphazard and kind of all over the place, and yet I am compelled to watch it through to the end whenever it plays on the telly. I can't quite figure out how well the characters are actually written, but they are played so beautifully that it really doesn't matter. I've always liked Nick Nolte but he's never been one of my 'favourites'. When I saw this film though, he completely won me over: he's selfish yet tender, brusque yet warm - just a wonderful, brave performance. Whitni Wright as Jeannie is remarkable - for any age. She is so utterly natural and believable, capturing the exasperating but ultimately disarming precociousness of childhood perfectly. It's a pity she has stopped acting, I think she would be amazing. It's also great to see Julie 'Marge Simpson' Kavner on the screen, she's severely underused by Hollywood - a great talent (remember 'Radio Days'?) And by the way, the film is about much more than an errant father mending his ways and changing his attitude toward his neglected kid, it's about a man unsure of his own worth finally changing his attitude toward HIMSELF. All in all, a gem despite its shortcomings.
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Humorous movie with Excellent characters
Bill Davis15 April 2001
This is an excellent movie with interesting, well-drawn characters, especially that of complicated little girl. Nolte gives one of his great performances as the sensitive actor-father. This movie didn't get the attention it deserved when it came out, because it had become known that it was originally planned as a musical, but the musical numbers were cut out after audience testing -- which was ironic, since the movie had many references to audience-testing movies. They could have turned all that on its ear by having a closing-credits sequence with the producers audience testing the movie and deciding to PUT IN musical numbers, and then running excerpts of the excised musical numbers. The critics would have been confused as to whether it had really ever been planned to be a musical in the first place, and it would have brilliantly augmented the subject-matter of the movie.
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Enjoyable in a surprising way
basit12 March 2000
Just caught this flick on Cable by accident. lazy Sunday afternoon, and Contact was playing on TNT for the 50th 'premiere' time, so I figured, what the heck.

And actually, it's kinda interesting I thought. Nick Nolte and kids are always terminally cute for some reason (ref. Three Fugitives with Martin Short). He's like like a big St. Bernard dog.

Anyway, the story is OK, losta phony LA movie folks earnestly searching for themselves, blah, blah, blah. Somewhere in there, there is some genuine humor and heartfelt sentiment. Actually not all that mushy. Tracey Ullman is horrible as always, but apart from that an OK Sunday afternoon flick.
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