ALMOST HOLLYWOOD begins as a low-budget parody of THE PLAYER, but soon becomes merely a cheap imitation of it.
Tony (Don Short), head producer for a small-time studio called Straight To Video Productions, insists that his films are "erotic thrillers, not soft-core." When Michael (Greg Scott), his young associate, asks him, "Isn't it possible to make a sexy, marketable film with some content?," Tony's
enthusiastic response is, "No way!" Tony's investors, however, have plans. They sign Playboy Playmate India Allen (herself) to an exclusive contract and hire her talentless boyfriend as writer-director.
As a result, Tony's plaything and star attraction, Kristen (Rachel Dyer), loses the lead in the film and angrily tells Tony's wife about their affair. Kristen is soon found murdered, as is India's boyfriend, whose ineptitude has pushed the film over budget. Tony is the chief suspect, as he had
threatened both. The investors fire Tony and put Michael in his place. We learn that Michael is the real killer, and he sets up Tony by planting the murder weapons in his house. Tony tries to attack Michael just as the police arrive and is shot. The movie ends with Michael enjoying a hot tub with
ALMOST HOLLYWOOD begins cleverly: its down-market take on THE PLAYER is an amusing idea, and some of its lines--e.g., its definition of "producer "as "do me and thou shalt work"--are wickedly droll. However, once the situation has been set up and the plot kicks in, there's no real payoff. Short
is often quite funny as Tony, but delivers a number of his lines too slowly, as if we're not meant to miss a word. At one point, Tony describes his productions as "the top of the bottom"; ALMOST HOLLYWOOD can be said to lie somewhere in the middle of the bottom. (Nudity, profanity, sexualsituations.)
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