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Roger EbertFull Review Good If a comedy makes you laugh, you can forgive its imperfections. What is seductive about this one is the way Joe Devine begins to think of himself as a real movie producer, and gets caught up in the struggle to bring 'Arizona' to the screen. What the movie gets right is the way even the most hopeless production can engender love and loyalty from its cast and crew, who talk themselves into believing it could be great. Nobody ever sets out to make a bad movie, and that's the lesson Joe Devine learns in spite of himself.
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Hollywood screenwriter Steven Schats
(MATTHEW BRODERICK) is on the A-List of
complete failures. With visions of development deals
dancing in his head, his only ambition in life is to make
movies. Finally, after years of pitching his morbid
screenplay to anyone with even a seventh degree of
separation from a producer, he is suddenly about to
join the ranks of the WGA's working roster. Which
explains why he's eager to overlook the fact that Joe
Devine (ALEC BALDWIN), who represents himself as
the man who can green-light Steven's low-budget
movie, is obviously more than a few film frames short
of any box office insight.
In a town where perception is reality, and
imposters outnumber unproduced screenplays two to
one, Devine is not who he claims to be. In truth, he's
an agent—not of the William Morris variety— but
with the FBI, and he's on a covert mission to ferret out
the mob with criminal ties to Hollywood. While hardly
the sharpest tool in the crime fighting shed, Devine is
as determined to be a star at the Bureau as Schats is
to be one in his industry. And he's just clever enough
to make the trusting screenwriter believe that at last
he's on the fast track to filmmaking success.