Urban Cinefile
AFTRS Open Day 2014
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Thursday, September 4, 2014 - Edition No 913 
Reckoning

Search SEARCH FOR A REVIEW
Our Review Policy OUR REVIEW POLICY
Printable page PRINTABLE PAGE

Newsletter Options - Registration is FREE Help/Contact

MUSE, THE

SYNOPSIS:
Screenwriter Steven Phillips (Albert Brooks) must battle to save his career when his deal with a studio is terminated. Despite turning to nearly all his friends, he has no luck - until he talks to Jack (Jeff Bridges) who introduces him to Sarah (Sharon Stone). Sarah is a muse, one of the mythical nine daughters of Zeus, who promises to inspire Steven so he can write again. But when Sarahís demands for her services run into thousands of dollars each week, Stevenís wife Laura (Andie McDowell) begins to doubt the wisdom (and Stevenís motives) in hiring her.

"A witty, feel-good comedy that slings poison arrows at the Hollywood system, The Muse is layered with irony - intentional or otherwise. The first irony is that the film is a self-fulfilling prophecy, as it suffers from the same lack of inspiration that the protagonist himself suffers from. Its clever in-jokes at the ridiculousness of life inside Hollywood are mostly funny; having a "drive-on" or a "walk-on (for miles)" permit to the studio, rich Bel-Air estate owners who canít play a lick of tennis, designer cookies at Spagos. The shark who fires Steven is a set-furniture stealing brat, and when Steven gets a meeting with Spielberg, he gets Steven Spielbergís deadbeat distant cousin Stan "I havenít seen Steven in a year" Spielberg (Steve Wright). At other times the comedy falls as flat as Stevenís "Iím King of the room!" joke when he receives his award. And when Stevenís wife Laura (MacDowell) is inspired by the Muse to be the cookie queen of Hollywood, the result is more curiously bemusing than genuinely amusing. The second irony is that Albert Brooks has made a comfortable career writing, directing, and starring in movies about men in mid-life crises. In Mother heís a novelist who moves back in with Mom, in Modern Romance a neurotic film editor splicing a disaster pic, and in Lost in America a yuppie who escapes the rat race. With The Muse heís a screenwriter whoís lost his edge; but in similar territory, Steve Martinís Bowfinger is funnier and Robert Altmanís The Player is smarter. Sharon Stone plays the wacky, pampered Hollywood princess to perfection, though perhaps Tori Spelling would have proved a more inspired choice. Andie MacDowell is as sweet and homely as ever, and Brooks looks as though heís not acting at all - which is amusing in itself. Off-the-wall cameos from Rob Reiner, Martin Scorsese, and James Cameron (the Museís former clients) add a nice touch. An interest in Hollywood, writing, or making movies may up your enjoyment here, but overall, The Muse is a light, funny, and flawed comedy that mostly amuses."
Shannon J Harvey

Iím sorry to say Albert Brooks is beginning to annoy me. His particular brand of humour, which translated into sharp and innovative films like Lost in America, seems to have gone stale. While I quite liked his last film, Mother, it was carried to a large extent by Debbie Reynoldsí performance. Having been through that, I donít really need another exploration of his relationship with a "difficult" woman. Like his character in The Muse, he seems to be suffering writersí block. The script is basically Mother warmed over, complete with obligatory happy ending. Brooks was at one time compared to Woody Allen. But while Allen generally conquers the sameness in his lead characters by manipulating the scenario, Brooks is stuck in a rut. Thatís not to say there arenít some funny lines in The Muse - in fact there are plenty. But good gags donít fix a limp story. In the acting stakes, Brooks is, well... Brooks. The patented character from virtually all his films reappears here in a slightly different form. As the eponymous muse, Sharon Stone isnít stretched at all. Indeed, after a while it becomes difficult to tell why her one-note character inspires anyone. Andie McDowell is solid as Steven's long-suffering wife; as is Jeff Bridges as Jack. Possibly the best thing about The Muse is the star-spotting, as various celebrities (including Cybil Shepherd, James Cameron and a particularly manic Martin Scorsese) drift in and out of the picture. The Muse has its moments, but overall I found it most definitely, and quite ironically, uninspiring.
David Edwards



Email this article

CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 0

SOFCOM MOVIE TIMES

MUSE, THE (PG)
(US)

CAST: Albert Brooks, Sharon Stone, Andie MacDowell, Jeff Bridges, Mark Feuerstein

DIRECTOR: Albert Brooks

PRODUCER: Herb Nanas

SCRIPT: Albert Brooks, Monica Johnson

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Thomas E. Ackerman

EDITOR: Peter Teschner

MUSIC: Elton John

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Dina Lipton

RUNNING TIME: 97 min

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE DATE: July 27, 2000







SciFi Film Festival
© Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2014