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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Art Linson's memoirs are a reminder of what a sad place Hollywood really is. We got closer and more original glimpses in films that go from Wilder's "Sunset Boulevard" to Altman's "The Player". Bernard Rose's "Ivansextc" also comes to mind not to mention Blake Edwards's SOB. Here the prototypes are well known even by people who have nothing to do with the film industry so one gets a bit impatient waiting for this fresh look from a prominent, still active, Hollywood producer. No such luck but there are other elements that make the film fun to watch if nothing else. To see Robert De Niro play "a character" that it's not in any way a semi parody of the films that made him famous is a welcome surprise in itself. Barry Levinson shows that he's as sharp as ever and the rhythms that he finds to tell the story keeps the tired tale not only alive but almost gripping.
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