[Screen It]


(2002) (Al Pacino, Catherine Keener) (PG-13)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
Moderate None Moderate None Mild
Mild None None None Mild
Smoking Tense Family
Topics To
Talk About
Moderate Extreme Mild Mild Minor

Comedy: After secretly putting a computer-generated actress into his latest film, a Hollywood director must then deal with the press, public and studio executives who clamor for more of the starlet they believe to be real.
Viktor Taransky (AL PACINO) is a Hollywood director who's been plagued by recent bad luck. Not only have his last three films flopped, but also his latest one starring Nicola Anders (WINONA RYDER) has run into a major snag. Viktor has no problem with her co-star, Hal Sinclair (JAY MOHR), but the vain and pampered actress is driving him crazy with her constant personal demands.

She eventually quits and threatens to sue if any of her footage appears in the film, resulting in studio head Elaine Christian (CATHERINE KEENER) pulling the plug on the project and firing Viktor. That only adds salt to the wound since she's his ex-wife with whom they have a teenage daughter, Lainey (EVAN RACHEL WOOD).

Viktor gets a break, however, when the ailing Hank Aleno (ELIAS KOTEAS) approaches him with a solution to his problem. It seems that he's developed a software program - Simulation One or "S1mOne"- that will allow for the creation and inclusion of a realistic-looking but completely computer-generated performer into his unfinished film.

Nine months later, Viktor has completed his work with "Simone" (RACHEL ROBERTS) having replaced Nicola. Not only is the film a hit, but the press and public are also fooled into believing the "actress" is real. She quickly becomes an overnight sensation and everyone wants a piece of her, including tabloid reporters Max (PRUITT TAYLOR VINCE) and Milton (JASON SCHWARTZMAN) who work the hardest at uncovering the story behind the new star. As they do so, Viktor must then deal not only with maintaining his secret, but also his new actress' increasing popularity and stardom.

Those who are fans of someone in the cast or like the work of writer/director Andrew Niccol ("Gattaca," "The Truman Show") might want to.
For some sensuality.
  • AL PACINO plays a down on his luck director who, out of desperation, uses a synthetic actress in his film and then deceives everyone about her. He drinks, smokes and uses some profanity while trying to protect his ruse.
  • CATHERINE KEENER plays his ex-wife and head of the studio making his film. She's only interested in making money via her movies, but does become fixated on Simone.
  • EVAN RACHEL WOOD plays their teenage daughter who's accepted their divorce but isn't fooled by or happy with the artifice of Hollywood and her father's involvement in that.
  • WINONA RYDER plays a demanding and egotistical actress who quits Viktor's latest movie and smokes.
  • PRUITT TAYLOR VINCE and JASON SCHWARTZMAN play two tabloid reporters who want to discover and reveal the truth about Simone.
  • JAY MOHR plays a somewhat dimwitted actor in Viktor's film.
  • RACHEL ROBERTS plays the synthetic actress who does what Viktor programs her to do, which includes briefly making politically incorrect statements and posing nude (although we don't see anything explicit).


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.

    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).

    Here's a quick look at the content found in this comedy that's been rated PG-13. Some heterosexual fooling around occurs in several scenes (passionate kissing, body contact and apparent desire for sex), as does the sight of some brief and partial female nudity and revealing attire.

    Brief and non-explicit, sexually related dialogue is present, while profanity consists of at least 1 "s" word and a handful of other expletives and colorful phrases. Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes, while they and/or others drink and/or smoke. Beyond that, the main character is divorced with a teenage daughter and there's some material regarding that.

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

  • Viktor has a drink next to him.
  • Viktor has a drink.
  • Viktor pours himself a drink.
  • Various people have drinks, including Elaine and Viktor.
  • A magazine cover shows a person with a martini.
  • Max wants to know how Viktor is controlling Simone and ask if, among other things, he's using drugs to do that.
  • Nicola states that she went through rehab.
  • Viktor has a drink and after he tries to tell Elaine the truth about Simone, she wonders how much he's had to drink.
  • Simone appears drunk during an interview (Viktor has made her that way on purpose).
  • None.
  • Nicola is a conceited and demanding actress who's upset with Viktor about not getting her the biggest trailer available (despite him getting a very big one).
  • Viktor lies about Simone and the reality behind her and then lets others run with that without telling them the truth.
  • After being told to be discreet about Simone staying at his hotel, a worker there calls someone to inform them she's there.
  • Max and Milton are typical tabloid type reporters who hound Simone and anyone associated with her in their quest to get a scoop. Max even has Milton write a fabricated, tell-all story about her childhood that they publish.
  • Viktor has Simone say all sorts of politically incorrect things during an interview in hopes of ruining her career (about ozone holes, immigration - saying, "God, isn't it crowded enough?" -- furry animals being there to be worn, eating dolphin, the benefits of cigarettes, etc.).
  • None.
  • In one of Viktor's movies, we hear a gunshot and see a character fall, but we never see the gun or any related wounds, blood, etc.
  • In the background of a faked satellite feed, we hear machine gun fire (played for viewer laughs).
  • We see the cover of a gun magazine, "Gun Times," with an image of a pistol on it.
  • Phrases: "I can't go along with this horsesh*t," "Freak," "What the hell is going on?" "Nuts" (crazy) and "You bitch" (what Viktor says to Simone).
  • Simone wears a midriff revealing top.
  • None.
  • None.
  • None.
  • At least 1 "s" word, 1 damn, 1 hell, 3 uses of "Oh my God," 2 each of "For God's sakes," "God," "Jesus" and "My God," and 1 use each of "Jesus Christ" and "Oh God" as exclamations.
  • A picture of Simone shows some cleavage.
  • Classic artwork shows female full frontal nudity (meaning it's arty rather than erotic).
  • There's some talk about Simone doing nude scenes in a film, but we never see them.
  • A miscellaneous woman shows some cleavage while acting as a body double for Simone. She thinks that Simone really exists and that Viktor is a nice guy for trying to protect the famous actress, but Viktor then tells the woman that they should go back to his place to continue the ruse for the pursuing press (he says this while his hands are on her bare knees).
  • Back at his place, she states that she finds herself attracted to him and then climbs on top of him on a piece of furniture where he's lying (both are clothed). She kisses him and says that this is so exciting. She then excitedly tells him to do to her whatever it is that he does to Simone (while repeatedly kissing his face), and then tells him to call her Simone. During this, she shows more cleavage in her low-cut dress, but Viktor then stops her and says that maybe they can do this another time.
  • As Max and Milton look around a hotel room that Viktor faked to look as if Simone stayed there, we see Max enjoying lying in the same bed he believes Simone earlier did, pocketing her bra and lovingly touching the toilet seat. He then kisses a toothbrush (that was earlier dropped in the toilet).
  • Simone shows more cleavage in various scenes, while a still cover shot on Playboy shows her bare back, and we then see a still shot of her sitting completely nude, but the positioning of her arms and legs covers any explicit nudity. As Viktor electronically changes Simone's clothing as she spins around, we see what looks like a glimpse of partial nudity (nothing explicit).
  • Nicola kisses Viktor during an audition and mentions giving in to him.
  • Viktor and Elaine passionately kiss and she states that she clawed and slept her way to where she is professionally. She then stops and says she can't do this to Simone and states that in the morning Viktor would go back to her (Simone).
  • We see Simone doing an interview in her negligee.
  • Viktor smokes at least 10 times, while Nicola and Simone each smoke once and some miscellaneous characters also smoke.
  • Viktor briefly comments on how many packs of cigarettes Nicola demanded she have.
  • Viktor has Simone say all sorts of politically incorrect things during an interview in hopes of ruining her career including talking about the benefits of cigarettes such as that you don't eat as much, plus it gives you something to hold in your hand.
  • Viktor and Elaine are divorced and have a teenage daughter, but they eventually get back together.
  • Elaine's new husband grows tired of her talking about Viktor all of the time.
  • Whether technology will get to the point that we'll be fooled into believing a computer creation is a real person, and whether audiences would then become fans of such a creation (knowing or not knowing the truth behind it).
  • The comment that our ability to manufacture fraud exceeds our ability to perceive it.
  • In one of Viktor's movies, we hear a gunshot and see a character fall, but we never see the gun or any related wounds, blood, etc.
  • Mistaking another woman for Simone at a party, various people rush toward her, knocking over others and tables, and then knocking her and others into a pool.
  • Viktor grabs his lawyer by the clothes in frustration.

  • Reviewed July 9, 2002 / Posted August 16, 2002

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