What Just Happened? Reviews

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Super Reviewer
February 24, 2011
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.
Super Reviewer
September 1, 2011
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.
Super Reviewer
½ May 4, 2009
Who cares.
Super Reviewer
April 14, 2010
What Just Happened reminded me of Entourage, from beginning to end. I expected Vince and the boys to come sauntering on screen at any second. That never happened, but the movie still managed to be entertaining.

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.
Mr Awesome
Super Reviewer
March 16, 2010
Robert DeNiro plays a bigtime hollywood producer who walks a constant tightrope between placating the petulant creative forces and the studio executives with the money. It's a game he plays pretty well until the combination of a film that ends with a dead dog and Bruce Willis' beard throws him for a loop. It's a business he's sacrificed alot for, including two relationships (each with children in the mix), but he seems to love all the stress of his job. Michael Wincott does a great comedic turn as the director of said dog-killing movie, and I'm not so sure his movie is intentionally bad, as an artist he seems particularly bad at his craft. Bruce Willis plays a version of himself as an over-the-top, self-centered actor, who's more concerned with his beard than with other peoples' livelihoods. I'm sure it's an apt skewering of hollywood and there are some funny moments, but overall, the film doesn't contribute anything to the cinematic landscape. It doesn't offer any lesson or insight, nor does it offer any moral or anything particularly entertaining. What just happened? Not alot.
Super Reviewer
½ January 4, 2009
A very odd film, a great star cast with a great level of acting, but the plot was incredibly boring, the highlight of which was will Bruce willis shave off his beard?

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.
Super Reviewer
January 3, 2010
I'm asking the same question. This seems like Levinson's both watered down and fired up version of what he thinks non-show biz folks think Hollywood is like. Watered down in that Ben is just like us! An aging middleman going through a bad divorce. Fired up in that Bruce Willis is crazy...not a thing like us, right? The film is so balanced that it doesn't have anything to say.
Super Reviewer
½ January 28, 2008
Solid black comedy from one of my favourite filmmakers. De Niro is good, Bruce Willis is hilarious, and the rest of the cast performs ably too. Well worth the watch: not great, but far from a letdown. More conceptually funny than laugh-a-minute funny, I really liked it.
Super Reviewer
November 19, 2009
A very well done comedy that has a refreshing performance from Robert De Niro. There were some great cameos from Sean Penn and Bruce Willis, who really made it a fun experience. The story is very original and captures the Hollywood backdrop quite nicely.
Super Reviewer
½ November 6, 2009
Two nail-biting, back-stabbing, roller-coaster weeks in the world of a middle-aged Hollywood producer as he tries to juggle an actual life with an outrageous series of crises in his day job. Ben is besieged by people who want him all to be sorts of things -- a money maker, an ego buster, a bad news breaker, an artistic champion, a loyal husband, an all-knowing father, not to mention sexy, youthful and tuned-in -- everything except for the one thing he and all the preposterously behaved people he's surrounded by really are: bumbling human beings just trying to survive by any means necessary.

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.
Super Reviewer
½ October 12, 2009
What a waste of great actors. There are certain scenes and certain performances that make you really pissed off that the rest of the movie is, at times, a student film. There is proof in this film that Bruce Willis gets the most out of any role (even when it is playing himself) and Robin Wright Penn is probably the most realistic thing in this film. The problem with this film and most films like it is that I keep asking myself why should I give a shit about this guy? His entire life is made chaotic by egos and his own stupid choices and this doesn't interest me at all. How can I engage with a character like this and why do these guys (the creators of the film) this is dramatic material? The stupidity is almost spoiled by a decent ending. Do we really have to watch De Niro running after a plane and then standing on the runway like a sad dog because his private jet left him behind? It's not as bad as the other half of the film which has him doing a lame Larry David impression.
Super Reviewer
½ August 9, 2009
Crazy madness. It was okay, but not up my alley.
Super Reviewer
January 28, 2008
Ben: So what'd you think?
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!
Super Reviewer
½ June 11, 2009
A: "Who cares?"

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.
Super Reviewer
½ June 9, 2009
yea it was worth the 4 dollars
Super Reviewer
May 31, 2009
Toothless 'The Player' wannabee with nothing very original to say about Hollywood. Some amusing quips get lost in the uneasy mix of caricatures and characters you are meant to care about.
Super Reviewer
April 19, 2009
It?s a struggle to maintain much interest
Super Reviewer
½ October 22, 2008
Late Post:What Just Happened?Willis, Tucci, De Niro, Sean Penn and Tuturro made a movie.What Just Happened??De Niros having problems getting a film approved, the film directors an outright mess, Bruce Willis has gone chunky and decided that hes going to keep his beard, the company isnt too pleased with this and gives De Niro the task of getting it thru Willis's head that keeping that kind of look is bad for the film and bad for his public image. Amist everything hes still trying to be a good father and he still has feelings for his ex wife.What Just Happened? Its a story about being a movie producer in Hollywood and presenting a film for the Cannes Festival. What just happened?Ill tell you what just happened... I got dupped into watching this!Director: Barry Levinson
Super Reviewer
February 25, 2009
What Just Happened is a "satire" on Hollywood through one week in the life of Hollywood producer Ben (Robert De Niro) whose entire life is a crisis. The movie he's previewing is getting bad feedback over the ending, he can't come to terms with separating from his second wife, his daughter from his first marriage is having problems that she won't reveal to him, and the movie that's going into production could get scrapped because Bruce Willis will not shave his beard. Ben attempts to juggle all of these things, usually fixing things at the job but failing to correct issues in his personal life.

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.
Super Reviewer
½ October 19, 2008
"In Hollywood, everybody can hear you scream."

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.
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