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By Tom Meek | February 23, 1998

In Hollywood, if you direct a stinker, you strip your name from the credits and insert the moniker Alan Smithee. But what if your name really is Alan Smithee? That’s the kind of dumb fun this silly, behind-the-doors, mock-umentary aims for. Eric Idle plays Smithee, an up-and-coming director who jumps at his first chance to make a big blockbuster starring the likes of Sylvester Stallone, Whoopi Goldberg and Jackie Chan. Naturally the film is a dud, and when Smithee can’t legitimately pull his name from the picture he steals the film. The script, written by over-indulgent hack Joe Eszterhas, wants to be a quirky insider’s look into the biz, like “The Player” or “Get Shorty.” To Eszterhas’ credit, the material is surprisingly sprite, but that still can’t hide the fact that the film is essentially an obscene exercise in self-flagellation. Lots of great cameos, too few laughs.

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