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 A debut satire/thriller by former p.r. specialist and film and television writer Kane. The five women nominated for the best actress Oscar turn out to have some pretty weird secrets. We know from the first page that one of them will, if she loses, shoot the actress who wins it. Kane doesn't deny us this scene, or the frenzy following: ``Arnold Schwarzenegger elbowed Tom Hanks and stepped on Julia Roberts's hand. Jodie Foster jumped over Tom Cruise and held onto the train of Jessica Lange's gown. Jack Nicholson leaned back and lit up a joint.'' The five actresses are Britain's Fiona Covington, married to the Shakespearean actor-director Colin Tromans (read Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh); reduced to orgasmic impotence after starring in a sleazy lesbian remake of Mary Poppins, Fiona is losing husband Colin to big-busted nominee Karen Kroll, an ex-porn star who recently played an American nun raped in El Salvador (in a Costa-Gavras film) and now wants to play Lady MacBeth to Colin's Big Mac; talented singer Connie Travatano (read Streisand), who hasn't performed in public in ten years and, when she's nominated, offers to sing at a presidential ceremony honoring Vietnam vets, only to damage her vocal cords severely while sword-swallowing her monstrously outsized Mexican houseboy; Lori Seefer, a lesbian fearful of exposure of her love life; and Amber Lyons, a vacuous former Gap salesgirl whose independent film won at Sundance and hit big-time. All are seen at their absolute worst: Sex is largely the stuff of pratfalls, while suicide, shoplifting, alcoholism, and drug addiction are thrown in for chuckles. Kane, unfortunately, lacks empathy for his characters of the kind that Michael Tolkin displayed in his novel The Player, where a murder is also the focal incident and real Hollywood folk fill in as background figures. Thinly amusing at best. Hard covers wouldn't have tarted it up.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-345-42071-3
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Ballantine
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 1998