Making the Grades
What would a writer give to have a little voice tell him just the right thing at the write time?
For Steven Phillips (Albert Brooks), the cost could never be too high. Paramount has just given him a big rejection with the simple statement: "You've lost your edge." Discouraged, he listens to his supportive wife Laura (Andie MacDowell) when she suggests he talk over his problem with Jack (Jeff Bridges), a good friend and fellow screenwriter.
Nothing could have prepared Steven for Jack's secret to success -- he uses a muse, one of the nine mythical Greek goddesses who are charged with providing artists with inspiration. Fortunately Jack's muse Sarah (Sharon Stone), agrees to take Steven on as her newest "client". But she doesn't come cheap. The newest client is responsible for the muse's expenses, including first-class hotel accommodations, and eventually (because room service couldn't supply a Waldorf salad at 3 am), lodging in the Phillips' guesthouse.
While Steven muses about money, everyone else is benefiting from Sarah's "talent". Laura embraces Sarah's brilliance for business opportunities and becomes the new family breadwinner. Directors like Martin Scorsese and James Cameron wander through the backyard in search of Sarah's genius, leaving little time for Steven's struggling script.
Making fun of Hollywood's creative army with Brooks' cynical humor left me chuckling throughout The Muse. However, the laughs are laced with many unnecessary elements that prevent this movie from being a great adult comedy. While language isn't vulgar, terms of deity are used as expletives throughout, along with occasional sexual innuendoes. Even more disappointing is Brook's inclusion of a very nude (albeit short) shot of Stone's character getting into a bed.
While the nudity happens in a non-sexual context, it could have been implied rather than shown. The reason for its inclusion is perhaps best explained in a quote printed in TV Guide. Brooks reveals his true intentions: "... I'm thrilled she [Sharon Stone] did it, because it got me a PG-13 rating for brief nudity. So when it comes on HBO, it'll say 'brief nudity,' and that's always exciting."
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about The Muse.
While this comedy pokes fun at Hollywood politics and the stereotypes who always resort to the same formula, Brooks has fallen into a similar routine by including unnecessary sexual content that would earn The Muse a PG-13 rating. Does a more “restrictive” rating make a film more attractive to members of your family?