5.7/10
25,221
115 user 132 critic

What Just Happened (2008)

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

Director:

Barry Levinson

Writers:

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

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Cast

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
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

In Hollywood, everybody can hear you scream. See more »

Genres:

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 »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Hebrew | French

Release Date:

31 October 2008 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

What Just Happened? See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$192,508, 19 October 2008, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,090,947, 18 December 2008

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$3,291,679
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS | DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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

Quotes

[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.
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Connections

Referenced in The Wizard of Lies: Cast interviews (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Brother Lee
Written by Citizen Cope (as Clarence Greenwood)
Performed by Citizen Cope
Courtesy of The RCA Records Label
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
entertaining but missed the mark
4 April 2008 | by moviefan8169See 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.


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