Screenwriter Wolper’s latest raking over of Hollywood.
Once more she goes on too long, although this is the shortest of her three works. Mr. Famous is an aging action film star on the downslide whose doomed, dark-toned current offering, Last Standing, sounds very much like the doomed, dark-toned Depression-era el floppo flick Last Man Standing that starred Bruce Willis (and was a dullish remake of Kurosawa’s seriocomic action masterpiece Yojimbo). Mr. Famous, or simply Mr. F, is the nickname given to Victor Mason by his chef/nutritionist, failed TV writer Lucinda, who sounds much like failed screenwriter Elizabeth West of Wolper’s Cigarette Girl (1999) and who shows up for a chapter herein, as she did in Secret Celebrity. Mr. Famous has had a literary novel under option for over ten years. He knows he can’t make it until he has two action megahits back to back. Then he’ll be allowed to film Skate, which is almost certain to tank—although Bruce Willis’s extremely low-keyed The Sixth Sense (coasting on Armageddon) had money falling out the bank-windows. Mr. F, going through a midcareer crisis, tends to lock himself into his bedroom for three days running—meals left by the door. So Lucinda sends him off to see her shrink, Dr. Davenport, who tells Mr. F that he’s no longer alive but has turned into, well, Victor Mason, action film star. This really upsets Mr. F, who rants against this clear truth to Lucinda, then takes her on a quickie plane flight to Boston, then by limo to his hometown, Falmouth, on Cape Cod, in search of lost time. Unlike California, Falmouth suffers gray rainy days. But Dr. D’s truth at last works its way through, and Victor gears up for serious acting, teaches a film class, and sets out to save Last Man from the suits. There’s a mini-subplot about Lucinda’s ex-boyfriend stalking her, but that suspense tidbit goes nowhere.
Much fun but falls off.