Barry Levinson's What Just Happened?
, a movie about a producer (played by Robert DeNiro) whose film opens at the Cannes
Film Festival, will in fact close the Cannes Film Festival this year. The
star-studded inside-the-lot look at the movie business (Sean Penn and Bruce Willis
play themselves) had been expected to shine at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this
year. Instead, it was panned by most critics. Patrick Z. McGavin, writing for the
British trade publication Screen Daily, called it "a desultory Hollywood satire
that fatally lacks the guts or verve to say anything vitally new or different." But
Todd McCarthy in Daily Variety summed up: "A story very much by, about and
for middle-aged men, and with the commercial limitations that implies, this intermittently
amusing out is graced by one of Robert De Niro's more engaging performances of recent
vintage." The filmmakers discovered the "commercial limitations" at Sundance -- where
they went home without a distribution deal.