• Publication date: July 1, 2011

Experience True Hell . . . in Hollywood What Just Happened: The Truth About the Big Screen

Ben (Robert De Niro) is a renowned Hollywood producer struggling to get his upcoming film, 'Fiercely' past studio execs and onto the big screen.

Ben (Robert De Niro) is a renowned Hollywood producer struggling to get his upcoming film, 'Fiercely' past studio execs and onto the big screen. During a test screening audiences were extremely troubled by the picture's closing scene, one in which the lead antagonist (Sean Penn, as himself) and his dog are shot � a supposed carnal sin amongst filmmakers that usually results in a work's critical and commercial failure. Ben and his cunning British director, Jeremy Brunell (Michael Wincott) thinks otherwise however, and pray that the movie's final cut can evade the studio's potentially unmerciful editing.

In the meantime Ben is just a week away from filming his latest project, featuring action superstar Bruce Willis. Much to Ben and the studio's chagrin, Willis has developed an affinity for facial hair, and insists upon sporting his unkempt beard on celluloid. The picture's financial backer insists that he shave, or else the project will be canceled. After the leading man sacked his agent, Dick Bell (John Turturro) for advising him to comply, Ben walks on eggshells while attempting to change Willis' mind, but he only has a short time to do so.

Juggling the aforementioned conflicts is trouble enough, but Ben faces further devastation upon discovering that his ex-wife, Kelly (Robin Wright) has shacked up with screenwriter Scott Solomon (Stanley Tucci). Coincidentally, Ben is currently producing a film based upon Scott's screenplay. In parallel he struggles with a daughter from yet another marriage, Zoe (Kristen Stewart) whose personal problems could be copied verbatim from an episode of Beverly Hills 90210.

Amidst all of this What Just Happened pokes fun at life and business in Tinseltown, simultaneously critiquing its money hungry culture, which oftentimes stymies artists' creative output and fosters an environment ripe with dysfunction.

Year: 2008

Duration: 104 minutes

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Starring:

Robert De Niro

Catherine Keener

Sean Penn

John Turturro

Robin Wright Penn

Stanley Tucci

Kristen Stewart

Bruce Willis

Director: Barry Levinson

Rating: Rated R for explicit language, some violence, sexual content, and drug use.