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Biting Hollywood satire that I wish was more focused

Author: udar55 from Williamsburg, VA
22 November 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Struggling writer-director Cliff Munroe (Clete Keith, who also wrote the script) can't seem to get any Hollywood suit interested in his film noir script. This changes when his agent sets him up to meet cement businessman "Papa" Rotella, who immediately bankrolls the thing. Munroe isn't too bright to realize the true meaning of "cement businessman" and soon finds that "Papa" wants his idiot son Howard (Joseph Scott), who considers Burt Reynolds the greatest living actor, to play the film's lead. Things get worse when "Papa" ends up dead at the bottom of his pool and some "associates" come looking for the money. Resembling the Tinseltown mockery THE BIG PICTURE (1989) from the same year, this is a satire of Hollywood that is a little too innocuous to be effective. Director Harrison Ellenshaw is best known for his matte work in films like STAR WARS (1977) and THE BLACK HOLE (1979), so it is surprising at how little visual flair he adds (there are some nice, surreal dream sequences though). He also struggles in how to tell the story as it is sometimes shown as a documentary and then as a narrative film. There is a funny scene where Munroe is forced to sit though an advertising agency telling him what audiences want (folks in the Bible belt love cars, kids in LA love exploding heads, everyone likes oatmeal - so your movie should be about people whose heads explode due to alien-infected oatmeal and then they drive in crash derbies headless).

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