Muse, The

Albert Brooks’ “The Muse” is a cute concept that becomes increasingly irritating as time goes by. That’s the effect Albert Brooks has on most of his films: irritating characters whining and acting stupidly; I think it’s his trademark.

Here, Brooks plays Steven Philips, a screenwriter with writer’s block. He doesn’t know he’s suffering from any kind of problem. It’s just what everyone with any power in Hollywood seems to be telling him. Paramount hates his new script and just dumped his three-picture deal (three is always the number, by the way) and booted him off the lot. His agent tells him to take a year-long vacation to get his “edge” back.

So what’s a writer to do? Steven learns from friend Jack (Jeff Bridges) that there’s a mysterious woman named Sarah (Sharon Stone) bouncing around Hollywood “inspiring” the likes of producer-director-actor Rob Reiner and others like himself who may be having a decline in their careers. She’s a real life “muse”, a concept that takes some getting used to. Being a Hollywood inside tale, we get lots of name dropping and cameo appearances from people like Lorenzo Lamas, James Cameron, Martin Scorsese, Reiner and even Wolfgang Puck, the restauranteur and cooking maven.

Yes, Sarah inspires them all. And now her job is to inspire this pathetic, whiny Steven Philips.

But Sarah has definite rules about her musing. The new client pays all her expenses, provides new living quarters and becomes her all around errand boy. This gives Brooks’ myopic character the opportunity to whine about paying her expenses even though he has the real chance of improving his career 100-percent. When he isn’t whining about paying money for putting his muse up at the super extravagant Four Seasons Hotel, he’s whining about saving money by having her move into his guest house, then he whines when his muse starts inspiring his own wife Laura (Andie MacDowell) into taking up cookie baking as a business. But you have to give his character some credit. He has reason to whine. Sarah is a most annoying muse. Nothing’s good enough for her; she moans about the hotel, the room service, the color of the room and on and on and only occasionally does anything remotely inspiring. It doesn’t take long before you want to drown Sarah or strangle her with her own scarf. Better yet, lock Sarah and Steven in a room together and let them whine each other to death.

Still, Steven gets new new screenplay written; his wife Laura becomes a cookie genius and Sarah may or may not be really insane.

Lotta says – she’s already said it all on this one!