A week in the life of Ben, a powerful Hollywood producer, as he juggles negotiations with a studio head so that his newest picture can open at Cannes in two weeks, with a high-strung director who must make edits to the film, with an actor and his agent because the star has arrived on the set of a new picture with a full beard, and with his most recent ex-wife, Kelly, whom he discovers may have a lover. He also notices that his 17-year old daughter, from another marriage, has probably been crying. What's up? Can Ben keep it all together, get the green light from the studio to go to Cannes, move his new picture past the beard crisis, and maybe return to Kelly's good graces? Written by
Vanity Fair named me as one of the 30 most powerful producers in the business. Power is an elusive term, but in Hollywood it's everything, I don't care what they say, you either have it, want it, or you're afraid of losing it. Where you stand at these things, or who you may be standing next to, may not seem like the most important thing, but it *really* matters.
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A producer(DeNiro) with two ex-wives and families tries to get a British artsy director(Wincott) to change the ending of their most recent film, and Bruce Willis to shave off a beard(he's also gained weight, but no one seems to worry about him losing *that*) before he stars in a movie. The clock is ticking on both, and it's astounding just how little we care. Oh, and yes, that actually is the entire story. It certainly isn't enough for a feature. Maybe this should have been a TV pilot? There are several subplots, one more unresolved and utterly pointless than the next. I haven't read the memoirs that this is based upon. The acting is good, with the possible exception of Tucci(not sure what happened there). We've got real talent, but they can't reanimate the dead material they're given. There is barely anything funny in this at all. The handful of jokes are drawn out endlessly. Granted, Robert talking with Robin and "trying to be understanding" is amusing, and this can make you smile every now and then. On the whole, the punchline is that Hollywood is full of sex with underage girls, drugs and personal problems. Newsflash: We know. And it isn't delivered in any kind of fresh way. Maybe part of the issue is that these are in-jokes... we don't get them. This has been called indulgent and arrogant, and I completely agree. Why make a big flick that won't appeal to anyone not in the business? This is slow-paced and incredibly boring. It's too bad, because the editing and cinematography(with some hand-held camera) aren't bad. This is meant to be a satire... I'd go for S1m0ne over it any day. It's the worst I've seen by Levinson. There is a bunch of strong language, a bit of moderate, bloody violence and disturbing content and brief nudity in this. The DVD comes with a trailer. I recommend this only to the most forgiving of potential viewers. 5/10
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