This pseudo-sophisticated satire, which recalls Robert Altman's THE PLAYER (1992), offers some biting Tinseltown observations but ends up sentimentalizing its premise. Veteran producers Sonny Wexler (Burt Reynolds) and Syd Wolf (Charles Durning) reminisce about their halcyon days. Although they both have enviable track records, young turks like Damon Black (Benjamin Bratt) are now running the show and are doing their best to squeeze out the old pros.
Unlike desperate Syd, who's hanging onto a studio pension, indie producer Sonny has an ace in the hole: His careful nurturing of fledgling screenwriter Bo Pomerants (Sean Astin) is about to pay off. But Bo's hot property attracts the attention of studio head Black, who's sufficiently unscrupulous not to care that Sonny and Bo already have a deal, and Sonny needs to raise $50,000 in option money to retain control of this potential blockbuster. Hell-bent on a comeback, Sonny dickers with Armenian millionaire Moogian (Robert Costanzo) for the capital but balks at Moogian's demands for collateral. Every legitimate source of backing dries up and with his eyes fixed on the prize, Sonny falls into questionable company. His ne'er-do-well son-in-law, Reuben Tallridge (Greg Germann), introduces him to arsonist Sheri Ganse (Rod Steiger) and proposes torching the restaurant owned by Sonny's daughter and placating Moogian with the insurance pay-off. As Sonny's option runs out, his good judgment deserts him. Will the Machiavellian Black swoop up Bo's screenplay, or will Sonny have one last chance at the brass ring? This superficial but engrossing look at Hollywood bottom feeding marks the directing debut of actor Burt Reynold, whose smarty-pants personality serves him well in the role of Sonny. Cameos add zing to the Lotus Land atmosphere, even if it's hard to sympathize with the self-centered Sonny, a show biz martyr in designer-label duds.
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- Released: 2001
- Rating: R
- Review: This pseudo-sophisticated satire, which recalls Robert Altman's THE PLAYER (1992), offers some biting Tinseltown observations but ends up sentimentalizing its premise. Veteran producers Sonny Wexler (Burt Reynolds) and Syd Wolf (Charles Durning) reminisce… (more)