Contemporary Los Angeles, and movie producer Gus has a 40th birthday to celebrate - or avoid altogether. Meanwhile, potential guests at his party include magazine writer Francesca, rising actor Nicholas and married couple, Carl and Lee.
Released last autumn in the States to much hooting, Steven Soderbergh's day-in-Hollywood-life indie was seen as self-indulgent at best, wilfully self-destructive at worst. But considering it was made for a paltry $2 million in just 18 days, Soderbergh should be forgiven for roping famous friends (including a wonderfully laconic David Duchovny and a bizarrely coiffured Julia Roberts) into an extended improv. session which ranges over love, sex, marriage and missed opportunities.
It's just a shame he couldn't find more interesting things for them to do. Hamstrung by a green script and a half-cocked dual part device, Soderbergh's digital camera does at least provide intimacy, and some of the set-pieces are both comic and cruel.
Generally, though, this falls into the classic solipsistic trap of presuming that, because actors find the parallels between life and art profound, so will we. Um, nope.
Well, it's no one-star turkey, but no 8 1/2 either. Further proof that every film is only as good as the script.