Rebecca Ascher-Walsh
November 01, 2002 AT 05:00 AM EST

— AUTO REVIEW Why rely on professional critics when you can just review your own movie? The latest example of egregious critical fakery comes from director (and ex-film critic) Paul Schrader, who last month posted a review of his Bob Crane biopic, Auto Focus, on Amazon.com. The five-star laud reads, in part, ”Auto Focus slips under the skin of the TV celeb…and delivers, without preaching or indicating, a shattering portrait of the clueless American male. Ouch.” Ouch indeed: The moniker used to sign the review — which was the only one posted — was the director’s personal e-mail address, a fact that did not go unnoticed by people who have worked with him before. (An Amazon spokesperson says that the review site is based on an honor system, making it impossible to vet; alerted to Schrader’s posting, Amazon says it will be removed.) When we reached Schrader by e-mail (not the one listed on Amazon) and asked whether he knew about the review, Schrader responded: ”Yep, that’s me. Before the film had its own identity when it was first being shown selectively, I wrote a blurb hoping to set a tone for the film…. However, foolish me, it was the first and only time I’ve posted such a comment on Amazon and I wasn’t aware that my screen name was traceable. If I had, I would have resisted the temptation.” Schrader, who is in Morocco filming the fourth Exorcist, then sent us another e-mail, adding, ”Perhaps a simpler, less elegant reply would have been: ‘Busted!”’

— ZOOEY GIRL Abandon star Zooey Deschanel, who has just completed filming All the Real Girls, directed by George Washington’s David Gordon Green, is getting into the book business: She’s optioned Molly Jong-Fast’s 2001 novel Normal Girl; The Rules of Attraction author Bret Easton Ellis will write the script. Deschanel will star in the dark comedy about a spoiled New York socialite.

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