What Just Happened? Reviews
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.
The basic story is about a few days in the life of a movie producer. Robert DeNiro stars as the main character, and I have to say that he fit the role pretty well. He has to deal with his ex-wives, difficult actors, studio bosses, high-strung directors, and other situations that threaten to overwhelm him. Nothing huge or flashy happens, the movie basically goes from small situation to small situation...but they all add up by the end of the story. Good stuff.
Oh, and Bruce Willis absolutely steals the show. He was hilarious every time he was on screen.
The cast just seemed a bit of overkill to me for this kind of film and whats worse is the film within the film was probably more interesting.
You can?t overthink the use of the real life Actor in this, if you do you?ll notice Sean Penn plays himself and his wife Robyn Wright Penn plays De Niro?s wife and Willis playing himself comes across as a male equivalent to a Diva.
This movie has a lot of talent in it. I know there are plenty of people who didn't enjoy this movie, but I did. I thought it gave us an good insight on how things run in the show biz and how hard it is to make a name for yourself and how hard it is to get your work shown. It also shows how the movie world expects to change your personal looks on how they want you to look, whether it be your hair, weight, or your values. I enjoyed all the characters. Thought Bruce Willis was halarious at playing himself. I am sure thats not how he really is.. But I thought it was a movie worth seeing, espeacially with talent it has lined up in it like, Robert De NIro, Bruce Willis, Catherine Keener, Kristen Stewart, and Robin Wright Penn. Just a lot of good actors.
Dick Bell: Well it had a lot of good production...I liked the music.
Despite having De Niro turn in a very good performance, along with a few other key characters in this film, the movie is a fairly tame Hollywood satire that doesn't give way to much more than a few funny moments and Bruce Willis being self depricating.
Robert De Niro stars as Ben, a middle-aged Hollywood producer, ex-husband to two women, father of three, and in the middle of a number of troubles involving two movies and his relationship with his soon to be ex-wife.
One problem involves re-editing a movie that involves the shooting of a dog at the end. This movie was seen at a test screening and now looks to be a huge bomb unless changes are made. This film within the film stars Sean Penn (actually having fun with himself) and was directed by a former drug addict Brit director, played by Michael Wincott.
The second problem for Ben involves a new movie starring Bruce Willis, except Bruce has grown a huge beard and gained weight, based on his own artistic decisions, but has now angered the studios who are threatening to shut down the movie. Ben now has to deal with both Bruce and his agent played by John Turturro.
Finally, Ben must deal with his soon to be ex, played by Robin Wright Penn, who may be cheating on him with a screenwriter played by Stanley Tucci.
All this sounds like a good number of stories that can be balanced in a humorous and satirical fashion, except this movie lacks any energy. The whole thing just goes through the motions without giving it an edge like the film The Player or a sense of zaniness like Bowfinger. Instead, director Barry Levinson follows up his equally lame comedy/thriller Man of the Year with another film that coasts along through its stories. Its a shame, because Levinson has made some great movies, but this one falls into his latter category of missed marks.
Ben: Why don't we start by giving your overblown salary to the Red Cross!
The filmmaking and story and jokes are more drab than I could have imagined from these talented people, even though Willis and Turturro try hard. Keener was something.
I don't understand why this film is being listed as a comedy. Sure it had two funny scenes, but most movies do. I can't really call it a satire either because I can see every bit of this film actually happening at one time or another. I would almost call it a docudrama. DeNiro is great as Ben, a guy that's wrapped up in his work and can not miss a phone call. God bless Bluetooth. The film is finely acting throughout which isn't a surprise with John Turturro, Stanley Tucci, Catherine Keener, and Bruce Willis filling out the main cast.
There are some dull points in the film and like I said: do not be fooled by the PR. It's a good film if you're into movies or DeNiro , but otherwise I don't see mainstream America getting into it. It is an interesting look into the quirks that hinder how films get made.
Two weeks in the life of a fading Hollywood producer who's having a rough time trying to get his new picture made.
Others have said that this material has been well addressed by others (e.g. in The Player). True, but this does not take away from a very entertaining movie. De Niro and Willis deliver amusing understated and overstated roles (as "themselves") respectively. And certainly, the usual Hollywood villains are lampooned and skewered but in a way that makes the characters a little more believable. Also great sound track (true, but also reference to a one of several funny lines in the movie).
This is also a very nice recovery for Barry Levinson who recently was responsible for some pretty lousy movies and probably has felt some of the resigned cynicism evidenced by the protagonist. Like many, he does well what he knows well.