The Muse

**1/2

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

As a parody of Hollywood, this tickles rather than bruises. Writer/director Albert Brooks understands the paranoia of a screen scribe who has lost his edge. The fear of mental block is bad enough, but when some kid studio exec tells him Brian De Palma wants his office and why not take a year's vacation, the rejection blues play full blast inside his head.

His buddy, Jeff Bridges, has just won an Oscar. He tells Brooks the secret. Find a muse - a bit like having therapy, only different. Jeff's muse is Sharon Stone. It could be worse. She takes him on, which means he pays for everything - she has expensive tastes - and once in a while throws out a remark which he grasps, drowning sailor style, and reconstitutes into his next hit script.

Having set up the muse concept and introduced Stone, as a glamorous gold digger, who has A-list gentlemen callers (James Cameron, Rob Reiner, Martin Scorsese), things fall flat, or rather stop moving. Brooks plays the sucker on one note - hangdog. Andie MacDowell, as his wife, is more alive. Dropping names and shooting scenes in fashionable eateries does not constitute satire.

The Player had a sharper wit, but fell down on the story. The Muse has a gentle wit and doesn't know where to go. Maybe it's time for that holiday, after all.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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The Muse packshot
A down-on-his-luck screenwriter gets a modern day muse.
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Director: Peter Hyams

Writer: Albert Brooks

Starring: Albert Brooks, Sharon Stone, Andie MacDowell, Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd, Monica Mikala, Jamie Alexis, Marnie Shelton, Catherine MacNeal, Mark Feuerstein, Lorenzo Lamas

Year: 1999

Runtime: 122 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: US

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