Picks and Pans Review: American Rhapsody

updated 07/31/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/31/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Joe Eszterhas

The Clinton-Lewinsky scandal seems tailor-made for Eszterhas, whose screenplays range from the glossy prurience of Basic Instinct to the seedy prurience of Showgirls. Like the Starr Report, this mostly nonfiction look at the sordid saga is at once fascinating, shocking, repellent and pointlessly repetitive. (Unlike the Report, sources go largely un-cited, leaving a reader to wonder where details of the President's early affairs come from: Arkansas troopers? The women themselves? The author's fevered imagination?) Eszterhas's entertaining narrative lurches from the White House to Hollywood, giving the screenwriter a cheap excuse to dish dirt on Glenn Close, Ryan O'Neal, Gina Gershon, ad nauseam. Of Sharon Stone he brags, "We wound up on the rug, crawling around..." Ah, what a gentleman. (The actress has declined comment.) The last voice we hear is that of "Willard," the Presidential Private Part, noting, "Billy's worked me hard my whole life." Talk about Rhapsody in blue. (Knopf, $25.95)

Bottom Line: The Starr Report, on acid

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