September 06, 1999 12:00 PM

Albert Brooks, Sharon Stone, Andie MacDowell, Jeff Bridges

The latest self-obsessed comedy cowritten, directed by and starring Brooks (Mother), The Muse starts off sharply entertaining but ends up nearly as vacuous and narcissistic as the Hollywood community it so gleefully lampoons.

Brooks plays a whining, middle-aged screenwriter who, after his latest script is rejected, turns for creative inspiration to a woman who claims to be a genuine daughter of Zeus (Stone). In exchange for tossing a few story ideas his way, she expects Brooks to pony up baubles from Tiffany’s, a suite at the Four Seasons and to be at her beck and call 24/7—all of which understandably miffs his loving wife (MacDowell). Is this muse worth it? You bet, say such satisfied customers as Rob Reiner, James Cameron and Martin Scorsese, who grovel before Stone in amusing cameos.

Although many of Brooks’s jabs hit (“Being a screenwriter in Hollywood is like being a eunuch at an orgy,” his character kvetches. “The only difference is that eunuchs get to watch, and I’m not even invited on the set.”), his preening targets (agents, studio execs) are easy pickings. Stone, stuck playing a conceit rather than a character, proves herself game but can’t really do much besides switch from one bad hairdo to another. (PG-13)

Bottom Line: Funny, but wears out its welcome

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