Albert Brooks is Steven Phillips, a veteran screenwriter of 17 films who is told he has lost his edge. A fellow writer with a string of successes under his belt (Jeff Bridges) refers Phillips to Sarah (Sharon Stone), a professional muse (see Greek mythology). In exchange for the royal treatment and a showering of expensive gifts, she will grace writers with her presence, which seems to magically spark profitable ideas from the client's mind. Is her power real or is it all in her clients' heads? Why does Jack's wife develop a delicious and profitable cookie recipe in Sarah's company? Brooks uses his usual biting wit and thoroughly neurotic sensibility to lampoon the Hollywood lifestyle. As in THE PLAYER, many personalities appear as themselves to take a shot--most especially a hilariously jacked-up Martin Scorsese and a desperate James Cameron. Sharon Stone is unexpectedly funny as the capricious, avaricious muse who turns Phillips's life upside down. Brooks is his usual dry, hilarious self.
The film was partially shot on location at the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific. Elton John composed his first feature-length score in 26 years for the film.
"...The script and dialogue are dead-on....[Certain] scenes possess a deliciously knowing air..." Variety, p.28-9
"...A potently funny lampoon of all things Hollywood..." - 09/02/1999 Rolling Stone, p.125-6
"...Credit Stone for a blithe, sexy turn..." -- 3 out of 5 Stars - 03/01/2000 Premiere, pp.96-98
"...THE MUSE is amusing..." - 08/27/1999 USA Today, p.9E
"...Underneath all its humor, THE MUSE manages to casually deal with some fascinating issues, such as the nature of creativity and inspiration and the important role belief has in making things happen..." - 08/27/1999 Los Angeles Times, p.C1
"...Smart, funny and edgy. And there's something fascinating about the way Brooks, as an actor, is ingratiating and hostile at the same time..." - 08/27/1999 Chicago Sun-Times, p.31