The Muse (1999)

...a new Hollywood-insider comedy from the always dependably droll 
Albert Brooks.  He co-writes, directs, and stars.  And, in addition 
to as-themselves cameos from Rob Reiner, James Cameron, and a side-
splitting Martin Scorsese-- "in what may be the funniest cameo in the 
history of movies" writes "News and Observer" critic Todd Lothery and 
I'm inclined to agree-- the cast also includes the lovely Andie Mac-
Dowell as Brooks' struggling screenwriter character's wife and a 
short-locked Sharon Stone as the live, honest-to-Zeus muse he turns 
to for inspiration.  (And who he subsequently has to bankroll, with 
limos, jewelry, room service, etc.)  Sounds hilarious.  Should be hi-
larious.  Should at least be *half*-hilarious.  And, folks, it don't 
even come close.  We're talkin' near-total suckage, here; an utter-
ly, totally, and absolutely butt-numbing, blood-stanching, wince-in-
ducing, watch-watching, eyelid-drooping, seat-squirming, BOWFINGER-
is-twenty-times-funnier, long, long, *long* sit.  (And to think I was 
griping about the far more tolerable MICKEY BLUE EYES?!?!  Fugget-
aboutit.)  The one word that sums this one up is "strained."  From 
tone to pacing to even Elton John's busy, string-heavy score, the 
laughs just ain't there.  (Think a comedy vacuum.)  Is it just bad 
editing?  Too many wrong takes and weak rhythms??  Or has Brooks' 
filmmaking skills turned as doughy as his physical appearance?  Gee, 
I sure hope not...  (Rated "PG-13"/97 min.) 

Grade: D+ (MUSE)

Copyright 1999 by Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

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