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The Week Ahead

Twists and plot turns along the Walk of Fame

September 20, 2004|Susan King

Matthew Broderick has gone from playing a hapless Broadway producer in the hit musical "The Producers" to a hapless movie writer-director in the new comedy "The Last Shot," which opens Friday.

The two-time Tony Award winner and husband of Sarah Jessica Parker plays Steven Schatz, an aspiring screenwriter who has lived in Hollywood for several years trying to pitch a morbid script about the death of his sister to anybody who will listen. But nobody will. So he works as the manager at Grauman's Chinese Theatre and lives with his neurotic actress girlfriend (Calista Flockhart) next to a kennel.

Salvation comes in the personage of Joe Devine (Alec Baldwin), a novice producer who not only miraculously green-lights the project, he asks Schatz to direct the film.

Unbeknownst to Schatz, though, it's part of an elaborate ruse hatched by Devine, who is actually an FBI agent on an undercover mission to eradicate mobsters with criminal ties to Hollywood.

Although Hollywood has always poked fun at itself -- from the 1928 silent comedy "Show People" to 1995's "Get Shorty" -- this R-rated comedy written and directed by Jeff Nathanson is actually based on a true story that first appeared in the February 1996 issue of Details magazine.

"What's Wrong With This Picture," an article by Steve Fishman, chronicled the exploits of an FBI undercover sting operation in which two fledging filmmakers, Gary Levy and Dan Lewk, found themselves unwitting players in the government's hush-hush operation to flush out the mob.

Both Levy and Lewk are associate producers of "The Last Shot" and appear in the film as "Hollywood Boulevard Types."

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-- Susan King

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