What Just Happened?
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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
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
The movie follows a producer (Ben) during two weeks before the Cannes festival (we definitely need to pay attention what the Europeans say, because they are more ...distinguished and they definitely have more class than the poor slobs of Americans). He is really on the run and his families (yes he has more than one) are falling apart. He is trying to change the end of a movie that at first doesn't appear to connect with the audience selected to prescreen the movie (reminds me the worthless focus groups that the candidates are using during the elections). All these people participating in the focus groups that supposedly represent the average Joe are selected according to the same (Hollywood) criteria. Therefore they NEVER represent the average Joe. Because it is all about the money!
After seeing this movie I understand why movies like "October Baby", "Touchback", and the soon to come out "Last Ounce of Courage" among others, can only be purchased from WalMart and they are nowhere to be found on Amazon or on Best Buy. When you have a drug addict, degenerate director that insists that blowing the head of a dog is art, then you understand why these people have really short life span and they have to be medicated. Usually, what most directors of Hollywood regard as art and deep philosophy in their movie is usually pure garbage with the exception of few (i.e. Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, Clint Eastwood, Francis Ford-Coppola, and Martin Scorsese among others). Because it is all about the money!
Then there is Bruce Willis and his beard as a side story.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very underrated movie!!! I think its very funny and interesting!!!Published 3 months ago by Fluminense Rio
Excellent comedic satire on the movie business with De Niro playing a harried producer dealing with out-of-control talent, including Bruce Willis, who must have had fun playing... Read morePublished 5 months ago by DR
i want a refund on my purchase for this dumb movie total waste of time!Published 6 months ago by Malika Ali
I thought De Niro did a great job portraying this producer in all his angst. I enjoyed seeing the other performers in an all star cast. Read morePublished 11 months ago by kevin
With such a great cast, its a shame they could not pull a better comedy together.Published 12 months ago by UpstateNYmom