Owen Gleiberman
March 13, 1998 AT 05:00 AM EST

An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
performer
Joe Eszterhas, Eric Idle
genre
Comedy

We gave it an F

If someone had put a gun to the head of Joe Eszterhas and forced him to create a movie that would sink his reputation even lower than Showgirls did, Eszterhas might have belched up An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn (Hollywood). Infantile and crude, smarmy with self-satisfaction, this blowhard expose of everything that’s wrong with Hollywood suggests a Mad satire that thinks it’s real. It’s structured as an in-your-face mockumentary, with one ego-pumped hotshot after another bellowing into the camera, unfurling the tale of Alan Smithee (Eric Idle), who signed on to direct a high-octane action thriller starring Sylvester Stallone, Whoopi Goldberg, and Jackie Chan and then went crazy and stole the film when he discovered that the studio wasn’t going to give him final cut.

Eszterhas, who seems stuck in 1978 (watching the movie, you’d think Hollywood was still run by Robert Evans and Jon Peters), introduces insider cameos with such on-screen billings as ”Dominick Dunne, author and bigmouth,” lampoons women by branding them ”feminists,” and comes up with lines like ”He was on the cover of Slime and Newsleak!” What turns the witlessness rancid is the way the movie is saturated in the very corruption it thinks it’s ridiculing. Who besides Joe Eszterhas would devise an art-versus-commerce parable about trying to ”save” a movie that’s a whorish piece of trash to begin with? F — OG

[BOX]

An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn STARRING Eric Idle Ryan O’Neal RATED R 83 MINUTES

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