LIMITED ENGAGEMENTS by Karen Stabiner

LIMITED ENGAGEMENTS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Today's movie-biz in the ugly New Hollywood, with the emphasis on the nitty-gritty of deal-making--mostly from the feminist viewpoint of a talented would-be woman director who's sharing bed and board with a selfish, lucky producer. Rae Drummond is the director, and she's been working on a woman-oriented script for months and months with screenwriter Phoebe (an earthy, tall gal who favors Peckinpah double bills); they've been naively trying to sell it without benefit of press agentry and such. Meanwhile, Rae's guy Jake Rubens (she's 32, he's 29) has won a slew of Academy Awards for a picture he produced as an employee of a big studio--and now he's hotly scouting up scripts and lusting for the next big move: becoming an ""independent producer lolling in the shade of a studio's umbrella."" Things get better and better for Jake (to the extent that his ex-wife, a real-estate agent, is hounding him to get into some high-toned house-trade deals), things get worse and worse for Rae--the script is almost bought, then turned down; and Sake is far from sympathetic (""Will you grow up? I have a meeting""). Plus--Jake's messing with other women, including that ex-wife. But then the tide turns: Rae determines to play the hype game to get her package bought; she dominates the action when a personality magazine does a feature on this filmland couple at home (Jake is furious); and when Jake finally gets his four-film independent-producer deal, all his scripts wash out--including Rae's and Phoebe's, which has just been sold (sans hype, as it happens) to the in-house producer who has just replaced Jake. The ironies, feminist and otherwise, are laid on awfully thick throughout, but timid, nervy, bread-baking Rae remains appealing nonetheless. And Stabiner knows the Hollywood turf all too well--status restaurants and shops, the lingo, the parties--so there's less romanticization here than in almost any recent Hollywood novel, including the far more satisfying Somebody's Darling. Unaffecting, then, but always knowledgeable, intermittently engaging, often sharp, funny, and rueful.

Pub Date: June 11th, 1979
Publisher: Seaview--dist. by Simon & Schuster