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


Barry Levinson


Art Linson, Art Linson (book)
1 nomination. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert De Niro ... Ben
Sean Penn ... Sean Penn
Catherine Keener ... Lou Tarnow
Bruce Willis ... Actor
John Turturro ... Dick Bell
Robin Wright ... Kelly (as Robin Wright Penn)
Stanley Tucci ... Scott Solomon
Kristen Stewart ... Zoe
Michael Wincott ... Jeremy Brunell
Jason Kravits ... Pollster (as Jason Kravitz)
Mark Ivanir ... Johnny
Remy K. Selma Remy K. Selma ... Jimmy (as Remy Selma)
Christopher Evan Welch ... Studio Marketing Guy
Lily Rabe ... Dawn
Sam Levinson ... Carl


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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Qui a dit que le cinéma était une grande famille? (Who said the movies were one big family?) 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:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


The film cast includes two Oscar winners: Robert De Niro and Sean Penn; and two Oscar nominees: Stanley Tucci and Catherine Keener. 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 The Wizard of Lies: Cast Interviews (2017) See more »


Kurio Ko Uddah Le Jana (Ins.)
Written and Performed by Raam Laxman
Courtesy of Extreme Production Music USA
See more »

User Reviews

Too Boring
9 March 2009 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

What Just Happened (2008)

** (out of 4)

Disappointing adaptation of Art Linson's book about a major Hollywood producer (Robert DeNiro) who finds his world both personally and professionally falling apart in the matter of one week. His latest finished film has the director butting heads with the studio over the ending and his upcoming picture is on the rocks because its star Bruce Willis wants to have a beard. The producer then finds out that his ex-wife (Robin Wright Penn) might be having an affair with his screenwriter (Stanley Tucci). You know, if you're going to make a satire about Hollywood then it might be a good idea to put in some humor. If you're going to make a hard edged film about Hollywood then it might be a good idea to put in some edge. This film comes off as a major disappointment considering the source material, the director and the all-star cast they lined up to do the film. Not only do we get DeNiro turning in a very good performance but we get a fun cameo by Sean Penn as well as nice supporting work by Tucci, Penn and John Turturro. The main reason for folks to see this picture would be for the performance by DeNiro who after years of so-so work actually manages to pull off a pretty good comeback. It's just a shame to see it wasted in such a bland movie. I think every bit of the blame has to be thrown at Levinson and the screenplay. It's clear the director and writer had something to say about Hollywood but they rarely ever say anything. I was really shocked at how few laughs the movie had and it wasn't because they went for them and missed but instead they simply didn't go for them. We really don't get any major incites into Hollywood that we haven't seen before and the movie never really takes any punches either. There's the whole subplot about a director having his vision taken away by the studio yet the movie isn't critical of the studio. This movie really isn't critical about anything so in the end you have to wonder what the whole point was to begin with.

8 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 123 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »





English | Hebrew | French

Release Date:

31 October 2008 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

What Just Happened? See more »


Box Office


$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$192,508, 19 October 2008

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS | DTS



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed