An Alan Smithee Film Burn Hollywood Burn

An incoherent title for a less than coherent satire originally known as just An Alan Smithee FilmAlan Smithee being the pseudonymous directing credit conferred when a real director has his name taken off a film, usually due to interference from the producer. Ironically, this labored send-up of Hollywood greed and foolishnessscripted by Joe Eszterhas in what appears to have been uncontrolled rage rather than recollected tranquillitywas apparently directed by Arthur Hiller, who had his own name removed from the credits, yielding a clear case of the pot calling the kettle black. The premise of this muddled, hit-or-miss comedy, done in pseudodocumentary form, is that an Englishman (Eric Idle) whose name actually is Alan Smithee becomes the director of an action-adventure blockbuster starring Sylvester Stallone, Whoopi Goldberg, and Jackie Chan, then flips out and steals the negative. I laughed a couple of times but can no longer remember at what; mostly I was simply amazed that the aforementioned actors, Ryan O’Neal, Coolio, Chuck D, Sandra Bernhard, and a good two dozen industry insiders ranging from Harvey Weinstein to Larry King to Eszterhas himself, could disgrace themselves with such submoronic material as if it were the height of hipness. If you harbor an interest in watching so-called industry smarts autodestruct, this carries a certain morbid appeal, but that’s about the extent of it. (JR)

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