Friday, November 7, 2008

Whatever Happened to Bobby D?

It’s so easy to become inured to witnessing the tarnish flecking off the once indomitable Robert DeNiro that you have to blink a few times when he actually goes beyond rote in any shape or form. In What Just Happened, working with the equally tarnished Barry Levison, DeNiro exhibits some of the subtlety and gusto he was once acclaimed for in this Hollywood-insider satire adapted from his own book by long suffering producer Art Linson. DeNiro plays the surrogate Linson, a supposedly powerful Hollywood player mostly reduced to quiet (and comic) desperation by the bratty talent, insipid greed, and wrench-tossing star-making machinery that engulfs him. The movie doesn’t stroll down many original pathways, and it has the burnt out feel of a late night cable staple, but it does have a quiet, doleful wit propelling it, and a fairly hilarious self-parody delivered with aplomb by Bruce Willis.

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