Screenwriter Stephen Phillips turns to one of the daughters of Zeus as his Muse but she turns out to be quite a high maintenace mythical lady.
In his career as a Hollywood actor/ writer/director, Albert Brooks has been responsible for some of the best, and least seen, comedies of recent years (Lost In America, Mother.) Sadly, The Muse is Brooks' least successful work in a long time.
Steven Phillips (Brooks) is a screenwriter who may be picking up humanitarian awards in Hollywood, but the word around town is that he's losing his edge. He needs inspiration, and finds it via his more successful buddy Jack (Bridges). Jack has been employing the services of Sarah (Stone), one of the nine daughters of Zeus, who's capable of providing divine inspiration. At a price - she's a spoilt brat, who drains Steven's emotional and financial resources. Nonetheless, the great idea in Steven's mind is coming together.
If there's a message in his movie, Brooks seems mainly concerned with telling Hollywood he should be appreciated a lot more, and for the most part, he's right - although this is a fairly bleak way of saying it. That's not to say there aren't any laughs in The Muse, there are a good few of them, from Martin Scorsese and James Cameron's cameos as themselves, seeking Muse inspiration, to a wonderful moment when Steven gets his big meeting with Spielberg - only it's Stan Spielberg, Steven's cousin, played by the brilliantly deadpan comic Steven Wright. Brooks will always be funny; but if anything, his own muse deserts him here, revealing a man with a cynical view of the town he works in.
Hit-and-miss comedy that is a cynical view of Hollywood but without a creative denouement