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Swimming with Sharks
Time Out says
Nobody hates Hollywood like the people who live and work there. Most movie-movies concentrate on the creative talent: ego-maniacal stars, hard-pressed directors, and abused screenwriters. Unusually, this film sticks to business. Buddy Ackerman (Spacey) is senior VP in charge of production at Keystone Pictures. When he says 'Jump', the ground shakes. His new assistant Guy (Whaley) is the latest in a prestigious line of dogsbodies: as Guy discovers, a year with Buddy and you're ready for anything. Even murder. Given that first-time writer/director Huang spent six years in menial jobs at Lucasfilm and Columbia, this is not so much a calling card as a poison-pen letter to the system. Ackerman is the boss from hell, a megalomaniac who wields his authority like a machete. It's biting stuff, but despite fashionably tricky flashbacks and a sour punchline, it feels a little flimsy, even naive. It's hard to believe Buddy would go for a project called 'Real Life' by one Foster Kane. Still, the picture's raison d'être has to be Spacey's 'loud and nasty' performance: he's the sort of actor who grabs you by the throat and beats you about the head without ever lifting his feet from the desk. And when he's off screen, you miss him.