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Movie Reviews

The Muse  

Steven Phillips (Albert Brooks)
Sarah Little (Sharon Stone)
Laura Phillips (Andie MacDowell)
Jack Warrick (Jeff Bridges)
Directed and Written by Albert Brooks
Rated PG-13 for language, brief nudity, and adult themes
Running Time: 97 minutes Distributed by October Films

The Muse is a well-written and enjoyable comedy. Steven Phillips (Brooks) is a Hollywood screenwriter that has just had his contract with Paramount Pictures terminated. The studio executive tells Steven that he is past his prime and that he should find another career. Grief-stricken by Paramount's actions, Steven turns to his agent, his wife Laura (MacDowell), and his buddy Jack (Bridges), for an elaborate answer of why this happened to him.

Jack, a fellow screenwriter, shares with Steven the secret of how his personal muse helped him save his own career. (A muse is a mythological figure who was one of the nine daughters of Zeus whose gift is to inspire.) After much debating and begging, Steven convinces Jack to set him up a meeting with the muse, Sarah (Stone). Following many funny sequences, Steven gets Sarah to work for him. However, little did he know how stressful it would be to work with her. Sarah is very precise and picky about every little thing. Eventually Steven learns that the more time he is around Sarah, the more stressed and angry he gets, although he is writing again.

The Muse is a nice blend of genuine humor and hilarious inside jokes. It is a different comedy by the story line, but it has the same feel as other adult comedies like As Good as it Gets, Broadcast News, and Good Morning Vietnam.

Albert Brooks cleverly wrote The Muse. The script is full of pleasing sequences and extravagant comedy. There is only one sequence in the film that is really dumb. I can't say the specifics of the scene because it might give away a certain surprise in the film. However, the scene is important to the film, but the way it is performed and presented is corny and irrelevant. However, this scene is minor in hurting the film because the rest of the film is so well done.

The acting in The Muse is notable and effective. Albert Brooks is very essential in his role as the stressed screenwriter. Sharon Stone is superb as the muse, Sarah. Sarah is very different role for Stone. In fact, The Muse is her first lead in a comedy, and probably one of her better performances. Jeff Bridges is well cast and funny as Jack. Bridges is hysterical in one the film's craziest and hilarious scenes, when Jack and Steven are playing, or at least trying to play, a friendly tennis match. Andie MacDowell is average as Steven's wife, Laura. I have seen her do a lot better acting than her performance in The Muse.

Overall, The Muse is a very good comedy with a unique story line. My hat is off to Albert Brooks who wrote, produced, directed, and starred in the film. He at least deserves admirable recognition and maybe even an Oscar nomination for his writing.

Report Card Grade: B+

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