Robert De Niro, Director Barry Levinson Wade Through Hollywood’s Mud in ‘What Just Happened?’

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CHICAGO – In his long and distinguished career, Robert De Niro has probably seen it all when it comes to Hollywood excesses and quagmires. Given that experience, he seems the perfect choice to portray an aging film producer and power broker whose influence is on the decline.

“What Just Happened?” teams De Niro with veteran director Barry Levinson (“Rain Man,” “Good Morning, Vietnam,” “The Natural”) in a provocative inside look at the current film business. De Niro is a producer named Ben whose latest film (starring Sean Penn) is in major trouble.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

His director (Michael Wincott) refuses to cut a scene that makes preview audiences squeamish.

Meanwhile, Ben’s other film (which is about to go into production) is also experiencing problems because star Bruce Willis (playing himself) is rejecting all the physical requirements necessary for the leading male role.

StarRead Patrick McDonald’s full review of “What Just Happened?” in our reviews section.

StarView our full “What Just Happened?” image gallery.

Ben is now a producer on the brink.

The drug-addled director requires constant reassurance, the studio executives are depending on his delivery of the latest Bruce Willis film and his estranged wife wants him in therapy so they can learn to live apart.

As an answer to the question of the movie’s title, it seems that everything can collapse to nothing in Tinseltown.

The film is based on a memoir by producer Art Linson (who also wrote the screenplay). Proving that truth is stranger than fiction, the farcical narrative delves into how egos essentially run Hollywood and how those egos are largely attached to dysfunctional human beings.

“What Just Happened?,” which is directed by Barry Levinson and features Robert De Niro, Stanley Tucci, John Turturro, Catherine Keener, Sean Penn, Robin Wright Penn, Michael Wincott and Bruce Willis, opened on Oct. 17, 2008.

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full “What Just Happened?” review.

Bruce Willis in What Just Happened?
Bruce Willis in “What Just Happened?”.
Photo credit: Magnolia Pictures

Robert De Niro in What Just Happened?
Robert De Niro in “What Just Happened?”.
Photo credit: Magnolia Pictures

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full “What Just Happened?” review.

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