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What Just Happened? (2008)



Average Rating: 5.8/10
Reviews Counted: 139
Fresh: 71 | Rotten: 68

What Just Happened has some inspired comic moments, but this inside-baseball take on Hollywood lacks satirical bite.


Average Rating: 5.8/10
Critic Reviews: 37
Fresh: 16 | Rotten: 21

What Just Happened has some inspired comic moments, but this inside-baseball take on Hollywood lacks satirical bite.



liked it
Average Rating: 2.6/5
User Ratings: 12,571

My Rating

Movie Info

Inspired by the personal memoirs of Hollywood producer Art Linson, Barry Levinson's fictional showbiz comedy stars Robert De Niro as a struggling movie producer who has just suffered through his second divorce, and slowly finds his soul being ground up in the machinations of the Hollywood machine. Ben (De Niro) is an aging producer whose career was already on a downward turn when his personal life went straight into the toilet. Not only is Ben juggling two ex-wives and a daughter who seems to


Drama, Comedy

Art Linson

Feb 24, 2009


Magnolia Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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August 1, 2008:
Trailer Bulletin: What Just Happened
The first trailer for Barry Levinson's What Just Happened has hit the Web, and Moviefone's got it!
July 7, 2008:
Exclusive Red-band Clip: What Just Happened?
What's funnier than Bruce Willis dropping f-bombs left and right, trashing a room, and menacing...


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All Critics (139) | Top Critics (37) | Fresh (71) | Rotten (68) | DVD (10)

A film that feels every bit the product of its purportedly ruthless and artistically corrupting milieu.

November 28, 2008 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

In some ways, What Just Happened feels like an attempt to, if not make amends for moviemaking myopia, at least show how easily the contagion takes hold.

October 31, 2008 Full Review Source: Denver Post
Denver Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

What Just Happened? is just a plain clumsy movie.

October 31, 2008 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

What Just Happened? has already happened and, to everyone but Levinson, that shouldn't be surprising.

October 31, 2008 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The sharpest Hollywood satire since The Player.

October 31, 2008 Full Review Source: Houston Chronicle
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The problem with Hollywood movies about the Hollywood film industry is: You've seen one, you've seen them all.

October 31, 2008
Miami Herald
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Precise, smart, and very funny in its specifics but rather clumsy and obvious when it comes to the big picture.

August 15, 2011 Full Review Source: East Bay Express
East Bay Express

Worth seeing, especially for people interested in the inner workings of the Hollywood machine, but don't go in expecting a laugh a minute.

August 30, 2009 Full Review Source: Washington Times
Washington Times

It's a pungent film about Hollywood power and a useful manual for young producers on how to stay upright in Hollywood or at least, how to lose your soul with grace.

May 24, 2009 Full Review Source: Sydney Morning Herald
Sydney Morning Herald

It's not Bowfinger but it's well worth the ticket.

May 22, 2009 Full Review Source: MovieTime, ABC Radio National
MovieTime, ABC Radio National

In an era where old rope such as Fast & Furious can strangle the box office, any reminder of Hollywood's clueless cynicism is more than welcome.

May 22, 2009 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph (Australia)
Daily Telegraph (Australia)

What Just Happened, despite an air of crisis, feels sluggish and plodding.

May 21, 2009 Full Review Source: The Age (Australia)
The Age (Australia)

An insider's Hollywood story, Barry Levinson's film lacks the bite of other admired "movie movies", such as The Player, or way back, The Bad and the Beautiful.

May 21, 2009 Full Review Source: Courier Mail (Australia)
Courier Mail (Australia)

I don't think it's particularly funny and I think that's the problem with the film. I think it wants to be funny.

May 20, 2009 Full Review Source: At the Movies (Australia) | Comments (2)
At the Movies (Australia)

It's a shame that the film doesn't ever really take off into the stratosphere, because so many of the ingredients are funny and revealing. But this is just another case where it was a better read than a film.

May 20, 2009 Full Review Source: At the Movies (Australia)
At the Movies (Australia)

A welcome return to form from Robert De Niro, who has not been so proactively reactive on-screen for many, many years.

May 20, 2009 Full Review Source: Herald Sun (Australia)
Herald Sun (Australia)

It's also mercifully free of the kind of phony pretensions to subversion and irreverence that weighed down, say, Robert Altman's The Player.

May 20, 2009 Full Review Source: FILMINK (Australia)
FILMINK (Australia)

The film must have great resonance in Hollywood, which loves nothing more than to see its innards hung out in proud dirty linen fashion, but the nebulous structure and meandering storytelling leaves the rest of us a little dissatisfied.

May 16, 2009 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile | Comment (1)
Urban Cinefile

Based on the Art Linson autobiography, this half-baked insider parody tries hard to be madcap.

April 23, 2009 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix
Boston Phoenix

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March 22, 2009 Full Review Source: Movies for the Masses
Movies for the Masses

More understated than sidesplitting, this biting satire of showbiz offers an amusing enough inside peek at what life might be like in Tinseltown to remain recommended, its mostly inside industry jokes notwithstanding.

February 27, 2009 Full Review Source: NewsBlaze

There are a few other clever pokes at Hollywood, but many of the jokes, including a subplot about a Sean Penn thriller that needs fixing, falls flat.

February 27, 2009 Full Review Source: JoBlo's Movie Emporium
JoBlo's Movie Emporium

Polished, coherent, rich with internal consistency... and sacrilegious for believers in The Movies

February 22, 2009 Full Review Source: Movie Habit
Movie Habit

It is hard to empathize with the petty problems of people living in luxurious houses the size of hotels when so many people in American have lost their homes.

February 12, 2009 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

Director Barry Levinson's What Just Happened? is about spoiled brats. But it's amusing.

February 1, 2009 Full Review Source: Fayetteville Free Weekly
Fayetteville Free Weekly

Ao contrário do recente The Deal, este filme não exibe carinho nenhum por Hollywood (uma clara hipocrisia), o que tampouco o torna melhor do que aquela produção %u2013 ambos esforços terrivelmente inferiores ao genial O Jogador.

January 31, 2009
Cinema em Cena

Audience Reviews for What Just Happened?

An inside Hollywood film for people inside Hollywood films. There is a lot of in-jokes and back patting here and I'm afraid I generally have no sympathy for the average Hollywood film producer but I found this film very easy to watch. Barry Levinson is a good director, he's got a mixed CV but generally you can depend on him. For me it was all about the performances though, I loved the whole 'The dies story-line', good on Sean Penn for getting involved and Bruce Willis makes amends for his horrible self-cameo in Oceans 12. Almost anyway. Every one does well, De Niro is totally watchable but for my money, Michael Wincott steals the show, his is a great performance. I really thought this film was ok, I'm not really sure why it's got all the hate on it.
May 22, 2013

Super Reviewer

Ben: You're an agent. Delivering bad news is part of your job description. 

"Admit nothing."

What Just Happened? is a decent attempt at bringing Hollywood to a more honest light. Not everything seems to work, but there's a lot of great stuff going on in the film. We're given a great cast, a decent story, and a terrific director in Barry Levinson. As the film runs along, I was always interested. This movie hasn't gotten a lot of slack and it all just seems unjustified to me. Sure the movie isn't a masterpiece, but it's a serviceable drama with some great performances.

A Hollywood film producer is being overcome by many negative factors that he has to deal with in his job. He's going through the divorce process, he has a movie that isn't being received well, that they need to recut, but a director who doesn't want to change it, and also another movie with a star actor(Bruce Willis as Bruce Willis), who doesn't want to shave his beard. He has to take all this on at the same time and still try to keep his sanity.

Robert De Niro delivers a pretty good role here as the struggling producer. He's backed up by a good supporting cast that includes Stanley Tucci, Bruce Willis, Catherine Keener, Sean Penn, and Kristen Stewart. The cast is outstanding and that's what makes the movie work just enough. The cast makes the kind of boring story a lot more entertaining.

In the end the film is worth a look and I enjoyed it. It has moments that are funny, if in an off the wall sort of way, but funny nonetheless. Also some of the satire on Hollywood is quite aggressive and interesting. Maybe all of it isn't completely original, but the way it's presented makes for a good time.
February 21, 2013
Melvin White

Super Reviewer

What Just Happened? Is a unique comedy that has plenty of laughs. The comedy displayed on screen is off the wall, and may not appeal to a large audience, but this film manages to be a lot of fun. I thought the plot, though at times was well thought out, and the story was interesting, and not your average comedy. Watching this, you have to have an open mind, and immerse yourself into the story. Director Barry Levinson has made a terrific film. Some may not enjoy this, and others may be skeptical about watching it, but What Just Happened? manages to be a very well made comedy with brains. The cast are terrific and Robert De Niro is great in the part he plays another great performance is that of Michael Wincott. Wincott a very funny director who is making the film seen in this film. He suffers from a kind of breakdown once the studio threatens to recut the film after a negative screening of the film. I loved this film, I thought it had a well written story that managed to be funny, and above all the cast was great. If it would've been a different cast, I think this film wouldn't be as good as it was. There are of course questionable names in the cast such as Kristen Stewart, but she has such a minimal part, that the viewer won't even have the time Levinson has made another great film. If you like this type of Humor, then check this one out. What Just Happened? Is fairly underrated and it shouldn't get the flack it has received.
September 2, 2011
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

Who cares.
January 15, 2011
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

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