Newcomer Williams draws on her experiences working for Hollywood celebs.
The assistants in the title are five young people working in Hollywood for successful agents, managers, and a talented but callow 19-year-old film star who’ll replace Leonardo DiCaprio. Michaela Marsh, an aging actress, assists for sitcom diva Victoria Rush, a druggie with two passes at Betty Ford, who at mid-life is likely to have her show, Mid-Life, dropped for low ratings; her husband, Lorne, 20 years younger, is a sex-addict. Muscular Jeb works for top agent and sleaze king Randall Blume—but is soon fired. The black Kecia Christy is Travis’s all-purpose gofer and addicted to sweets. Griffin, a straight-passing-as-gay assistant, hopes to make manager and works for A-list manager Johnny Treadway, who feels threatened by heterosexuals. His two clients are Victoria, whom he’s thinking of dropping, and Travis Trask, the kid who now gets $20 million a flick. But Travis has been partying for six months, and Johnny is so eager to get him committed to a project that he accepts an idiotic pitch about a meteoroid-disaster movie that doesn’t even have a script. Johnny sends Griffin to see Travis about the meteoroid trash, but Griffin tries to get the doped-out Travis to sign for Weinstein/Miramax’s The Catcher in the Rye (Holden Caulfield is a werewolf), which Travis dismisses as a baseball picture. Babes in the woods Rachel Burt, a Forrest Gump, and her no-sex roommate Dan are from Sugarland, Texas; she gets hired as an assistant to Victoria and Michaela (who knows that a penis is an actress’s best friend). There are more firings, Travis’s ex-con brother shows up, and Rachel, who has writerly ambitions, gives Griffin her fabulously rich screenplay, The Sugarland Shuffle, which he uses to start up a company for all the assistants, with Travis on board.
Long, slow opening leads to lively pages, romantic closing.