Parents' Guide to

What Just Happened?

By James Rocchi, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Showbiz satire is too edgy, "insidery" for kids.

Movie R 2008 107 minutes
What Just Happened? Poster Image

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The film makes viewers ask whether Ben deserves a break; as played by De Niro, Ben doesn't exactly engender our sympathy, but then again, he wouldn't ask for it, either. In the middle of the week, Ben discovers that Kelly is seeing his married friend/business associate, Scott (Stanley Tucci); when Ben confronts him, Scott offers "I'm not happy ... is this an unfamiliar feeling to you?" What Just Happened? is loaded with great actors in small parts -- Willis and Sean Penn playing themselves, Catherine Keener as a predatory studio exec, John Turturro as a nervous agent, and Michael Wincott as a pill-popping pretentious director -- and De Niro gives the same kind of sly, understated performance that he last delivered in Levinson's Wag the Dog. What Just Happened? may be a little "inside" for mass appeal, but anyone curious about how movies actually get made -- and, for that matter, unmade -- will enjoy it.

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