A Flop At Sundance, Levinson's Film Goes To Cannes
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.