Art Linson has produced some truly great movies—Fight Club, Heat, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, to name just a few—and his gossipy memoir, What Just Happened?, is a factual account of his years in Tinseltown. Now he's re-written it for the screen, but he's taken himself out of the equation in favor of an entirely fictional story about Ben, a middle-aged producer (played by one of his book's main characters, Robert De Niro) whose personal and professional life are spinning out of control.
Throughout What Just Happened?, one gets the feeling that everyone involved thinks the movie's hilarious—but it's packed with inscrutable inside jokes, and Barry Levinson's direction is cold and morose. Bewilderingly, Bruce Willis gives a terrible performance as himself; he's the leading man in Ben's new picture and angrily refuses to shave off his Grizzy Adams beard. Willis' wretched agent, played by John Turturro, gets pushed into an open grave in a scene that can only be described as the opposite of uproarious.
The entire movie takes place inside a bubble where everyone is miserable despite having tons of money, fucking beautiful people, and working at jobs that many would kill for. Perhaps What Just Happened? is a biting, insightful look at the movie industry, but it's hard to imagine anyone outside of Hollywood giving a rat's ass.