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What Just Happened

In Hollywood, everybody can hear you scream. 

Year: 2008 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: Unknown 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Barry Levinson 
Starring: Robert De Niro, Bruce Willis, Sean Penn and Robin Wright Penn.  
An image from What Just Happened

Ben was once on his way up the Hollywood ladder, working his way onto magazine covers and into lists of the most powerful producers around. Sadly, those times have passed and we meet a man who’s now in over his head. He has two families as well as his day job producing Sean Penn's latest film "Fiercely", all vying for his time and attention. Advanced “Fiercely” screenings point to a complete flop and his wife (Penn) won’t take him back - Ben's life can’t get worse.

So what do you do when the audience hates the ending of your film, your writer is seducing your ex-wife and Bruce Willis ceases to be the “Die Hard” actor that he once was? You set about fixing things bit by bit, though not without some major setbacks along the way.

In Ben’s struggles at home and in the workplace, his stress is clear for all to see, manifesting as an enjoyable comedy. De Niro is back on form, along with enjoyable cameos from Willis and Penn, the agent (John Torturro) and screenwriter (Tucci) who all provide subplots and perspectives on the industry.

If this sounds a little similar to Robert Altman’s “The Player”, then you know what sort of film to expect, though here the audience isn’t lead to feel in on the joke. Although the film is less comedic than its marketing campaign, it gives a fun insight into film-making and the cast provide a highly enjoyable film that you’ll be glad to have seen.

Robert Gardner

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Screenings of this film:

2008/2009 Spring Term (35mm)