Picks and Pans Review: Action!

UPDATED 06/09/2003 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 06/09/2003 at 01:00 AM EDT

By Robert Cort
Critic's Choice

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The back-stabbing! The bed-hopping! The battles for boffo box office! Cort captures all of Hollywood's most lovable qualities in this decadently detailed novel about a morally flimsy film producer's 50 years in showbiz. Cort is the right guy to deliver the goods: He is a slick, stylish writer who has produced such cash-gobbling crowd-pleasers as Three Men and a Baby and Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure. In detailing the life of A.J. Jastrow and his rise from gofer to mogul, Cort goes on an often sinister spin through his Rolodex to shine harsh light on the history of dream making.

The real fun comes when Cort's make-believe hero mingles with real celebs, keeping the reader guessing as to whether there's any truth in the fiction. Jastrow watches Steve McQueen go trigger-happy in a beach house, Mickey Rooney curse a blue streak and Michael Douglas give his backside some air; even Sam Kinison shows up, with a chain saw. The book is up-all-night entertaining, and with so many celebs appearing--whether they like it or not--you'd better believe that folks in La-La Land will be talking about this one. (Random House, $24.95)

BOTTOM LINE: Don't wait for the movie

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