The Muse is a sad case of life imitating art. In this plodding comedy, humorist Albert Brooks served as co-writer, director and co-star. Portraying a screenwriter who has lost his edge, Brooks appears to have lost his also. Is this the same creative genius responsible for such gems as Mother, Lost in America and Real Life? It hardly seems possible. Like the character he plays, Brooks needed someone or something to re-inspire him while working on The Muse.
Glamorous Sharon Stone certainly looks good enough to inspire great feats of creativity. Playing Sarah Little, a woman who passes herself off as a Greek goddess, Stone delivers a confident and amusing performance. She seems quite at home in this flamboyant role. As a muse, Sarah takes on clients to help make them more successful. Who has benefited from her unusual services? “That’s confidential,” she claims. Still, viewers see director Rob Reiner thank her for The American President and James Cameron, director of Titanic, shake his head over her advice to “stay away from the water now.” Sarah even hints at being responsible for Jim Carrey’s meteoric career.
When Sarah agrees to work with fired screenwriter Steven Phillips (Brooks), she faces one of her most difficult challenges. Ignorant of all the “Muse Rules,” Steven reacts negatively to her obnoxious demands for tribute and pampering. And that’s when things go wrong -- both in the movie and with the movie.
Sarah gets more cooperation from Steven’s wife (Andie MacDowell), a budding Mrs. Fields, than she does from him, so she gives his spouse more attention. This causes Steven to intensify his incessant whining. Here’s where Brooks desperately needed a real Muse to prevent his film from faltering. Instead, the same scenes get recycled over and over. Sarah demands and demands; Steven complains and complains; the audience yawns and yawns.
Some viewers may enjoy watching for cameos by various celebrities in The Muse. Jennifer Tilly, Lorenzo Lamas, Cybill Shepherd, and Wolfgang Puck can be spotted briefly. Jeff Bridges appears in a couple of important scenes as Steven’s successful friend who introduces him to Sarah. And there are plenty of insider Hollywood jokes, the funniest involving Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg. Unfortunately, most of the film remains museless.
(Released by October Films and rated “PG-13” for brief nudity and mild sexual innuendo.)