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Hollywood strivers.

Josie O’Leary wants to be a producer and nothing’s going to stop her. She’s got a law degree, a few connections, and some insider advice: buy a great script by an unknown, attach yourself to a star, and work hard. But this triple play isn’t so easy, what with the competition from all those other people determined to make it in what’s invariably referred to as “the business” in “this town.” Josie just isn’t grabbing any glory as the underling of an old-style producer’s snotty niece. Maybe she could get somewhere if she wangled a job at NJTF—New Jersey Thoroughbred Films—owned by former horse trainer turned megastar Henry Antonelli. NJTF is run mostly by his interesting wife, Esther Rabinowitz, a dressed-down genius in jeans and T-shirt who offers only $45,000 a year, take it or leave it, when Josie wants $100,000. She takes it, and desperately touts the only script she can glom onto, a quirky project called The Bear Who Saved Christmas, written by a promising unknown. It could be greenlighted if Henry plays the lead (his last sleeper turned out to be a critical and commercial hit)—and what if Renee Zellweger were interested—or even J. Lo? Segue to Carla, a 40ish Manhattanite fleeing a falling ceiling and semipermanent unemployment to exploit the kindness of a rich cousin. Carla, a former book reviewer afflicted with a profound baby-needs-a-nap irritability, talks a blue streak and lands a job reading scripts, which she’s able to sum up in a New York minute. The thin plot suddenly thickens: She just so happens to be Henry Antonelli’s illegitimate daughter. Touched by stardust, Carla gets a job at NJTF, where she secretly rewrites The Bear. Josie and Carla square off as sparks fly and heads roll.

A cast of thousands, chaotic structure, and movie-biz clichés—in a second outing from film producer DeMarco (The Cranberry Queen, 2001).

Pub Date: June 1st, 2003
ISBN: 1-4013-5191-3
Page count: 256pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2003