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Laramie Movie Scope:
The Muse

Wacky new age Hollywood comedy sparkles

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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September 6, 1999 -- Smart comedy and Albert Brooks go together naturally. As an actor, Brooks plays smart characters, as he did in "Broadcast News" and as a writer and director, he directs smart, satirical material as in "Mother" and "Lost in America." "The Muse" falls into that category as well.

Brooks plays Steven Phillips, a Hollywood screenwriter who thinks he's lost his edge. Desperate for a fix, he turns to his best friend, Academy Award-winning screenwriter Jack Warrick (Jeff Bridges) who tells him he can get inspiration from a real Muse he just happens to know.

Phillips goes to see the Muse (well-played by Sharon Stone). The Muse agrees to take him on as a client, but she is very high maintenance, demanding lots of pampering. Phillips doesn't have the kind of money it takes to keep her happy, so he is constantly negotiating with her, pleading his case. This is the kind of whining and wheedling at which Brooks is so adept.

The Muse's demands take up more and more of Phillip's time. All the while he sees the benefits going to others, such as his wife, Laura (Andie MacDowell of "Groundhog Day"). A steady procession of top Hollywood talent makes its way to the Muse's door, including directors Rob Reiner, Martin Scorsese and James Cameron. Others with cameo appearances include actor Lorenzo Lamas, chef Wolfgang Puck and actresses Cybill Shepherd and Jennifer Tilly. Seeing all this, Phillip's fuse burns faster. The madder he gets, the faster the hilarious one-liners come.

The movie is a funny send-up of show business in Hollywood. There are incredibly dense executives who make the boss in Dilbert look brilliant by comparison. There are also desperate writers and directors who don't know what scripts will sell, what movies will make money or which will win awards. Nobody knows why some movies are popular and some are not. In a situation like that, writers and directors will look anywhere for answers, even to a Muse. This film rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 1999 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]