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What Just Happened?


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Product Details

  • Actors: Robert De Niro, Stanley Tucci
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Magnolia
  • DVD Release Date: February 24, 2009
  • Run Time: 104 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001FB55XA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #145,425 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "What Just Happened?" on IMDb

Special Features

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A winningly sharp comedy about two nail-biting, back-stabbing, roller-coaster weeks in the world of a middle-aged Hollywood producer.

Amazon.com

Somebody once dubbed Hollywood "the Dream Factory"; What Just Happened aims to make sad, occasionally zany comedy of the proposition that unreality is the keynote of Hollywood as place, process, and lifestyle. Art Linson wrote it, and as producer of The Untouchables, Fight Club, Heat, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, et numerous al., he must know the territory. Trouble is, after Robert Altman's way-superior The Player (1992), several seasons of Entourage, and wraparound entertainment coverage on cable TV and the Internet, most of What Just Happened feels secondhand and superfluous. Robert De Niro gives a low-key comic performance as Ben, a seasoned producer being relegated to the edge of Tinseltown's Big Picture. The test screening of his latest movie was a disaster because his arty Cockney director (Michael Wincott, savoring a rare comic opportunity) insists on killing off not only hero Sean Penn but also, unforgivably, his dog. And Ben's next movie may not get made at all because Bruce Willis is adamant about playing his part with an outlandish beard the studio won't stand for. Meanwhile, our beleaguered protagonist is living in a soulless plastic-and-chrome apartment while supporting two ex-wives in their respective Houses Beautiful. The second wife (Robin Wright Penn) has lined up a divorce counselor to help them get on with their separate lives, even as Ben yearns for reconciliation.

What Just Happened re-teams De Niro with director Barry Levinson eleven years after Wag the Dog (1997), their surreal black comedy about Hollywood and Washington, different kinds of dream factory, collaborating on a politically expedient fiction and an unnecessary war. Nothing comparable is at stake here--though at one point studio boss Catherine Keener does evoke memories of President Lyndon Johnson issuing directives while perched on the commode. There are funny bits and deft touches from such redoubtable troupers as John Turturro--playing an agent terrified of talking to his clients--and Stanley Tucci, as a screenwriter who may be moving in on that wife Ben hopes to win back. However, Levinson's direction is so lackadaisical, there's barely a moment that doesn't nudge the whole enterprise toward the direct-to-video bin. --Richard T. Jameson

Customer Reviews

I watched about five minutes of it and then gave up.
SLK
Cannot believe how BAD and BORING this movie is...it feels like an insiders joke about Hollywood!
C. F. Jung
This is an "inside Hollywood" story, adapted from the autobiography of producer, Art Linson.
Penumbra

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Justin Heath on October 11, 2008
Format: DVD
Director Barry Levinson hasn't had much luck lately - after Bandits, which was a good though not anything very noteworthy comedy caper, he had two colossal duds in a row- Envy and Man of the Year- which, despite an otherwise impressive host of films (i.e. Diner, Rainman, Sleepers, even Toys) could have threatened to throw him off track ala Rob Reiner. But in a way What Just Happened was relatable for Levinson, despite it being the stories of Art Linson, semi-famous producer who's had hits and misses throughout his career, and at the same time gave him some ample material for some sardonic, spot-on satire of the industry. It's not the Player, don't get me wrong, but it gives its winks and nods to the egomania, the preciousness of directors and stars, and how personal lives get caught up in the mix without getting too smug with us common moviegoers.

Probably the funniest, as sort of a near running gag, is the latest film that producer Ben (De Niro) is being test-screened for audiences; a rough cut of "Fiercly" starring Sean Penn (who, as with Bruce Willis, plays "Himself" in the film) disturbs the audience because, on top of a bleak end for its hero, a dog is killed on screen (this, for all the wrong reasons, is hysterical funny, if only for the deadpan reaction from DeNiro to the insanely negative response cards). The director, however, a British hipster (brilliantly played by Michael Wincott), doesn't take it lightly that he doesn't have final cut. This brings around what seems like a moment of levity midway... and then back to the start when it comes time for Cannes. On top of this is Willis's 'plot-line' involving a beard he won't shave off. It's almost like a slight reprisal of his part in Four Rooms, only put to a much bigger, aggrandizing maximum.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By James Beswick VINE VOICE on September 5, 2012
Format: Amazon Instant Video
I was surprised at some of the negative reviews here about a film I've seen at least 20 times. Based upon Art Linson's autobiographical book of the same name, the movie does a great job of binding disparate chapters into a cohesive story that - while it's in no way fun or pleasant - paints a painfully accurate picture of an industry that's full of money and egos. While there are many industry films out there, What Just Happened reveals the money-focused obsession of studios, the narcissism of actors and the pathological dedication of semi-sane directors. And by the way, Michael Wincott's character here and his film 'Fiercely' is really supposed to be David Fincher's Fight Club.

While admittedly it's more accessible to movie bores like me, I think there's enough wit and cleverness in the script to keep the casual viewer engaged. Robert De Niro is excellent as the producer under fire and there's a fine supporting cast of the likes of Stanley Tucci and Sean Pean who play their respective roles perfectly. A tip of the hat goes to Bruce Willis for an excellent self parody as the actor who threatens an entire production because he won't shave his beard. And Catherine Keener is fantastic as the unflinching studio head who will take final cut from a director if the dollar signs add up.

As someone who has flirted with the entertainment industry on various occasions, the bizarre situations posed in the movie strike a chord and remind you that Hollywood is about 10% product and 90% money, power and egos. What Just Happened is clever, insightful and well scripted and certainly worthy of higher praise than it's been receiving.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Brad Smith on October 12, 2011
Format: DVD
Normally, I hate movies about movies. It's just so incestuous. However, this very funny satire is one exception. DeNiro, as usual, is very funny as the nervous producer clinging by his fingertips to power as everyone around him seems to be causing him problems. Bruce Willis, too, is funny as the egotistical star who won't shave his beard for a big movie and might cause everyone to lose their jobs. All of the roles are funny, Sean Penn and the director who won't make cuts in a film to save it. I thought the script is very smart and had the right touch. The pacing is deft.. I disagree with all the negative comments about this film. Watch it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By D. McDonald on March 28, 2010
Format: DVD
I believe this is an amazing movie for people in business to share with spouse and family members who can't really grasp the realities of what happens in the business world. Yes, this movie focuses on self absorbed actors and directors and demanding money, but it mirrors what successful business people navigate through daily. The main charactor always has his eye on getting the job done and has to appease unrealistic and emotional demands with a smile on his face and keep pushing forward. He needs to fix a problem, while balancing all of the parties involved and he pushes forward. I am sure any business person can relate to this and the power of the person who has the vision to see the bigger picture, despite the idiots he has to deal with.

Now this may sound boring by my description, but if you are in a demanding professional position, you should find this movie awesome. This is the first movie I have watched twice since I was a child. If you have a family member who works professionally and you cannot fathom what their life is like, watch this movie and truly put yourself in DeNiro's shoes. DeNiro is the only one aware that unless the job gets done nobody makes any money and the game is over.
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