An exceptional movie experience

A scene from ‘What Just Happened’

A scene from ‘What Just Happened’  

What Just Happened (English)

Cast: Robert De Niro, Sean Penn, John Turturro, Robin Wright Penn, Stanley Tucci, Bruce Willis

Director: Barry Levinson

This is a movie that just would not have worked without a dazzling cast. However, we can praise the lord for John Turturro, Robin Wright Penn Stanley Tucci, Bruce Willis and the incredible De Niro for giving us an exceptional movie experience.

Based on the memoirs of Hollywood producer Art Linson, What Just Happened is the story of two nightmarish weeks in the life of movie producer Ben. The test screening of Ben’s latest film, Fiercely, draws shocked reactions. The studio boss Lou tells Ben to fix it or the film will be pulled out from Cannes. Ben has to find a way to placate the studio as well as the drug-addled director of Fiercely.

He also has to deal with two ex-wives, a daughter who seems to have grown up overnight, a cheating scriptwriter friend and a fat, bearded Bruce Willis who refuses to get into movie-star shape for Ben’s next movie.

While there are some genuinely funny moments, acute observations and biting satire, the film would have lost steam if it were not propelled by brilliant performances.

Sean Penn and Bruce Willis (especially hilarious throwing diva-style tantrums) play themselves, while Robin Wright Penn is gracious as Ben’s confused ex-wife. Stanley Tucci is the cheating scriptwriter who wants Brad Pitt to star in his latest project about a florist. John Turturro is hilarious as the dyspeptic agent who is terrified of his own clients.

And what does one say about De Niro apart from the fact that he is pitch perfect. To all who say that the performance is not a patch on his Travis Bickle (Taxi Driver) or Jake La Motta (Raging Bull), we must remember that that was a different time, a different place and a different movie.

While the movie does not offer any great insights into the big bad world of Hollywood, it does offer one a humorous look at the dream factory with some awesome acting and music thrown in.


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