Wednesday’s “What Just Happened?” premiere at MoMA gave industry insiders and celebs a look at Barry Levinson‘s well-constructed, but ultimately a bit flat new film. At the 21 Club dinner after the screening, folks were telling me that the source material, accomplished producer Art Linson‘s book What Just Happened?: Bitter Hollywood Tales from the Front Line, is a much sharper take on the movie business.
WJH certainly has a number of very funny moments. Yet, even with many inside jokes at the expense of Hollywood (and Cannes), it could have gone even further. It certainly doesn’t reach the level of a classic insider movie like “The Bad and the Beautiful” or even, “The Player.”
The film’s producer and star, DeNiro, is quite good as the harried producer trying to patch together a breaking marriage and faltering productions, while Bruce Willis is downright hilarious playing himself, a pouty movie star. Against the expectations of those selling it, the film didn’t get a deal at Sundance this year, in retrospect the wrong place to put this movie on the market. It’s worth watching, just keep those expectations in check. It opens on October 17th.
Pictured: Barry Levinson introduces “What Just Happened?” as Peggy Siegal looks on.
[photo by eugene hernandez]