What Just Happened is another one of those moderately funny comedies that Robert De Niro seems to be churning out lately – except that this film isn’t even moderately funny. It’s not like sitting through its 100 minutes makes you think that life in the outside world is passing you by, but it’s not so great that I would have paid to see it (thanks MIFF for the free tickets).
The film has a big-name cast including De Niro, Sean Penn and Bruce Willis (with a Grizzly Adams beard and large gut) and it is based on a book by Art Linson (subtitled ‘Bitter Hollywood Tales from the Front Line’) which exposes the inside workings of producing movies in Hollywood – the banter, backbiting and handholding. So all the elements are there for a crackling, biting comedy about the pressures of working in a glamorous but vacuous industry. Sadly the film never really delivers but pootles along at a middling pace with a string of weak storylines.