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What happens when a screenwriter (Brooks) loses his edge, he turns to anyone he can for help... even if it's the mythical "Zeus's Daughter" (Stone). And he's willing to pay, albeit reluctantly, whatever price it takes to satisfy this goddess, especially when her advice gets him going again on a sure-fire script. However, this is not the limit of her help, she also gets the writer's wife (MacDowell) going on her own bakery enterprise, much to the chagrin of Brooks, who has already had to make many personal sacrifices for his own help.Written by
BOB STEBBINS <email@example.com>
Albert Brooks has long been one of the most underappreciated filmmakers working in the movie industry today. Less acerbic, but often just as funny as Woody Allen, Brooks looks at the world through a slightly askew, charmingly off beat prism, invariably placing himself in the center of his films as the average Joe persona put-upon by the daily frustrations and absurdities we all face as we struggle to make it though our often harried modern lives.
His latest charmer, "The Muse," provides even more of a fantasy insider's view of Hollywood than Steve Martin's recent "Bowfinger." Brooks portrays a fairly successful screenwriter who is suddenly experiencing steady rejection of his most recent script as studio after studio turns thumbs down on the project. Driven by desperation, he enlists the aid of a tempermental Muse, played winningly by Sharon Stone, an actual descendant of Zeus who moves her way around the Hollywood bigwigs, inspiring hit movies as she goes - or so her many devotees think. Part of the fun of the film comes in the latter portion of the film when doubt is cast on the validity of her credentials, which speaks humorous volumes about the state of mental health in that crazy land known as Hollywood.
In fact, the film is at its freshest in scenes in which Brooks gently skewers the crass insensitivity, lack of creativity and general madness of the movie industry itself - and he has enlisted quite a number of major Hollywood big shots to appear in amusing cameo roles that mock their own self-importance and that of the business they are involved in. Despite the occasional thudding one-liner, Brooks' script floats along much like a muse itself, fluffy, amiable and charming. The lovely Andie MacDowell, as Brooks' understanding and supportive wife, adds immensely to this air of breezy likability.
"The Muse," unlike so many modern comedies, manages to captivate and entertain without working itself up into a frenetic frenzy and without breaking into a sweat. This is a film, rather, to relax into and simply let the author take you where he wants you to go. The journey, luckily, is a fun one.
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