What Just Happened (2008)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  31 October 2008 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.7/10 from 23,214 users  
Reviews: 109 user | 135 critic

Two weeks in the life of a fading Hollywood producer who's having a rough time trying to get his new picture made.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Kelly (as Robin Wright Penn)
Pollster (as Jason Kravitz)
Remy K. Selma ...
Jimmy (as Remy Selma)
Studio Marketing Guy


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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

hollywood | cannes | beard | agent | actor | See All (119) »


If it happened in any other movie you wouldn't believe it! See more »


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, some violent images, sexual content and some drug material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





| |

Release Date:

31 October 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

What Just Happened?  »

Box Office


$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$192,508 (USA) (17 October 2008)


$1,089,365 (USA) (12 December 2008)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The subplot involving Bruce Willis refusing to shave his beard for a movie is based on a real life incident writer/producer Art Linson had with Alec Baldwin on the set of The Edge (1997). See more »


[first lines]
Ben: 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.
See more »


Referenced in Teen Wolf: The Tell (2011) See more »


Brother Lee
Written by Citizen Cope (as Clarence Greenwood)
Performed by Citizen Cope
Courtesy of The RCA Records Label
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

entertaining but missed the mark
4 April 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I just got back from an AFI screening of Barry Levinson's satirical comedy, "What Just Happened?", an inside look into the movie business and big studio politics. Robert De Niro was in attendance along with director Barry Levinson and screenwriter Art Linson. Although I tried to get a photo of De Niro, sadly, I was never close enough to get a good shot.

Based on producer Art Linson's book, "What Just Happened? Bitter Hollywood Tales from the Front Line", the film version tells the story of a successful Hollywood producer, Ben, played by Robert Deniro, as he juggles his personal and professional crises. This film has an impressive cast including Robin Wright Penn as Ben's second wife, Kelly; John Turturro as Dick, the stereotypical shifty agent; Stanley Tucci as Scott, the blocked screenplay writer; Michael Wincott as Jeremy, the temperamental director; Catherine Keener, as Lou, the hardcore studio exec; Bruce Willis as the demanding movie star; and Sean Penn as himself.

This mildly funny expose of modern-day Hollywood, was entertaining, but a little disappointing. The message is supposed to shock and outrage the viewer about how the film industry ruins art by turning it into pure commerce. But there have been plenty of Hollywood satires like "The Player" that have done this genre better. Although the source of the material is authentic and despite an outstanding cast (who all give great performances), "What Just Happened?" ultimately has nothing new to say besides the fact that Hollywood is a devious place to work. As a gimmicky farce, it works, but as a satire it was a limp and familiar insider's movie that lacked sharp irony, humor and novel characters.

This film won't appeal to everyone, but it does have some good one liners and funny moments. However, the combination of these actors working together in a comedy may be worth the cost of admission alone.

80 of 126 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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