Something tells me writer/director/actor/comdian Albert Brooks has been asked the quintessential question all writers hear ad nauseam one time too many-- "Mr. Brooks, where do you get your ideas?"
One day, he probably snapped back, "From a muse, you know, the daughters of Zeus, in Greek mythology, the sources of all creativity?" Then he thought, "He-ey..." and a movie idea was born.
In his latest movie, "The Muse," Brooks plays Steven Phillips, a middle aged screenwriter in the youth worshiping Hollywood culture. As in most of his roles, Brooks plays Steven as an angst ridden, put upon guy who is smarter than the people who have power over him. In desperation, he turns to a successful writer friend (Jeff Bridges) who admits his success is do to a muse, named Sara (Sharon Stone, who shows surprisingly good comic timing). The deal is, you bring the muse presents, and meet her every lavish whim, and you will get moneymaking ideas in return. This muse, however, is vain, bossy, demanding, and as completely unreasonable as only a daughter of Zeus can be.
Steven also finds that while he's paying the freight, filmmakers like Rob Reiner, Martin Scorese and James Cameron, still come to get inspiration. Even his skeptical wife Laura (Andie MacDowell in a charming, laid back performance) gets the boost to start her own cookie business.
Albert Brooks' neurotic desperation is a bit of an acquired taste, and his ideas and priceless bits contained within his movies are always better than the follow through. But "The Muse" will appeal to anyone who has ever tried their hand at a creative endeavor, and had it sluffed off by lesser mortals.