SO 5 MINUTES AGO by Hilary de Vries


Email this review


Gossip! Scandal! Hollywood! A story about all these—yet none of them made exclamation-mark worthy.

De Vries is a veteran career scribbler who, for ten years, has covered the ups and downs of Hollywood for the glossies. She’s a new hand at fiction, however, and her first outing shows it. Her heroine, Alex Davidson, is a senior publicist at DWP, a Hollywood agency that specializes in handling former A-list celebrities fallen on hard times and trying to claw their way back into the spotlight. Alex’s newest acquisition is Troy Madden, a young actor with killer looks, a disarming Midwest attitude, and an insane drug habit (Brad Pitt by way of Robert Downey Jr.) that pretty much wrecked his career. Fresh out of rehab (but not so clean), he’s now Alex’s responsibility. Which is the last thing she needs, as DWP is about to be acquired by a bigger, meaner agency, and she’s not even sure she wants to be in publicity anymore—and that’s a pretty hard pill to get readers to swallow, since for every time Alex yearns to be a member of the East Coast intelligentsia or slams the brutal vacuousness of those in her chosen profession, she makes the very sort of sweepingly shallow generalization readers would expect from a Hollywood stereotype. Buoying Alex in her oh-so-horrid job (which seems to involve making phone calls, drinking lattes, and being nice to selfish movie stars) is the usual wisecracking gay assistant, a stock character swiftly becoming about as welcome as the token black friend in teen film or fiction. There’s the occasional biting observation to show that de Vries has put in real time in the Tinseltown trenches—“Peg is one of the female leviathans Hollywood secretly breeds. . . Tough as nails, most of them could run a small country and none of them are above fucking with you because they can”—but the credit she’s earned gets put to little good use.

Time-passing fluff of the most anemic kind.

Pub Date: Feb. 17th, 2004
ISBN: 1-4000-6138-5
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Villard
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 2003