Film Producer Ben (Robert DeNiro) is having a bad week. His latest film, directed by a mercurial, temperamental, egotistical British director (Michael Wincott) and starring Sean Penn has a disastrous test screening. The next morning, Lou (Catherine Keener), the studio head, calls Ben and his director for a meeting. When the director throws a tantrum, Ben assures Lou they will make the requested changes in time for the Cannes Film Festival. His wife (Robin Wright Penn) is happy to continue going to a therapi..
Director Barry Levinson hasn't had much luck lately - after Bandits, which was a good though not anything very noteworthy comedy caper, he had two colossal duds in a row- Envy and Man of the Year- which, despite an otherwise impressive host of films (i.e. Diner, Rainman, Sleepers, even Toys) could have threatened to throw him off track ala Rob Reiner. But in a way What Just Happened was relatable for Levinson, despite it being the stories of Art Linson, semi-famous producer who's had hits and misses through..
Since most audiences are not part of the Hollywood system, it's difficult to say how effective "What Just Happened" really is. While it's generally entertaining as a brooding comedy, director Barry Levinson and writer Art Linson (who adapted his own novel) have made film that seems less like a satire and more like a commentary, painting a picture so unflattering that it's likely to frighten aspiring filmmakers. Those of us not in the film industry--myself included--essentially have to take their word for it..