I'll Do Anything [1994]

Originally conceived and shot as a musical, James L. Brooks's (Broadcast News) comedy of life in Hollywood remains a perceptive and very funny film. A loose Nick Nolte stars as Matt Hobbs, a struggling actor who must find work to support his spoiled 6-year-old daughter (cutie pie Whittni Wright) when his estranged wife (Tracey Ullman) dumps her. Brooks creates wonderful characters in this insightful look at how the movie business has changed--from strong talent (represented by Hobbs) to image and test screenings. Hobbs's angel--professionally and privately--is embodied by a ditsy production assistant (Joely Richardson) to an egoistical producer (Albert Brooks, hilarious as always). Ironically, the movie's songs by Prince were excised when they did not test well. What's left lacks the heights the songs might have provided (especially in the finale), but with Brooks's talent for giving even minor characters juicy dialogue, I'll Do Anything is a light comedy worth seeking out. --Doug Thomas

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