The Muse (1999) / Comedy
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for language and nudity
Running Time: 97 min.
Cast: Albert Brooks, Sharon Stone, Andie McDowell, Jeff Bridges, Monica Mikala, Jamie Alexis, Mark Feuerstein, Wolfgang Puck, Steven Wright, Rob Reiner, Lorenzo Lamas, Jennifer TIlly, James Cameron, Martin Scorsese, Cybill Shepherd
Director: Albert Brooks
Screenplay: Albert Brooks, Monica Mcgowan Johnson
Another genial and amusing comedy by Albert Brooks (Modern Romance, Defending Your Life), The Muse is a pleasant little diversion for fans of Brooks and light-hearted comedies in general. As usual with Brooks films, your enjoyment of the movie will greatly depend on how much you like his brand of neurotic humor, not too dissimilar to the works of Woody Allen at his lightest.
Brooks plays Stephen Phillips, a once successful screenwriter who gets the axe by his movie studio because he has lost his edge. Struggling to get back in the game at any cost, he takes a tip from a successful friend in consulting a Muse, one of nine sisters who inspire creativity. He see the Muse, who goes by the name Sarah Little (Sharon Stone, Catwoman), but she proves to be very demanding, requiring expensive gifts, the finest of surroundings, and someone to wait on her hand and foot at all times. The situation becomes expensive and exasperating for Stephen, but a major ordeal occurs when Sarah starts inspiring his wife Laura (Andie McDowell, Groundhog Day) to start her own cookie baking company, and he's getting less attention as a result.
Amiable is perhaps the word I'd use to describe The Muse, although the delivery isn't quite as good as you'd think when hearing the premise. There are quite a few cameo appearances from many stars, but none of them really cracks as sharp as warranted given their time and talent, and Brooks casting of Andie McDowell, who I have liked in other films, doesn't quite feel right here. Sharon Stone is fun to watch in a frivolous role that shows off her comedic side in a good light for once, and Brooks is his usual likeable loser.
It would be easy to draw irony in the fact that Brooks is playing a screenwriter who has lost his edge, because this clearly isn't his best work, but I still think it's a worthwhile comedy for those who like his usual shtick.
©2004 Vince Leo