Picks and Pans Review: The Assistants

updated 07/05/2004 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/05/2004 01:00AM

By Robin Lynn Williams

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The Player meets Office Space in this catty, clever farce that pits Hollywood power players against their plucky underlings. The ensemble piece revolves around five characters struggling to make it in a town that eats entry-level employees for brunch: Michaela, the "aging" (over 30) C-level actress and gofer extraordinaire; Kecia, the caretaker of a party-boy actor; Jeb, slave to a twit of an agent; Griffin, the secret brains behind a pompous manager; and Rachel, the aspiring screenwriter who serves a fading TV star. Each story is rich enough to stand alone, but the narratives deftly overlap—the friends not only work together but gripe together at their weekly AA-style meeting. As for their glittery milieu, you've got the dirty laundry list of L.A. debauch, including drug-fueled parties, lavish mansions that demand two zip codes and the cold-blooded affairs between cute young thangs and their aged bosses. Williams's book is brilliantly observed, and anyone who's done time as a peon will applaud the gang's plot to replace their witless bosses with real talent.—A.L.S.

NOVEL

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