Cinema: The Muse

Directed by Albert Brooks

This time Brooks plays a screenwriter, Steven Phillips, who, as everyone keeps telling him, has lost his edge. What he needs is a muse, who turns out to be a bubble-headed material girl (well played by Sharon Stone) who requires gifts from Tiffany in exchange for dopily delphic advice. The conceit is mildly amusing, but what Brooks actually seems to have lost is his comic rhythm. There's something distant and depressed about the film, which never develops the momentum it needs to link its occasional bright satiric moments into a convincing whole.

--By Richard Schickel

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