One of the most problem-laden productions of the 1990s, I'll Do Anything still works overall despite the fact that it was initially created as a musical by writer/director James L. Brooks. The finished product is a surprisingly juicy satire of Hollywood and fatherhood, with Nick Nolte in a terrific performance as a beset dad simultaneously raising a child and trying to forge a successful acting career. The film's jabs at Tinseltown are blisteringly funny, and its supporting players are all perfectly appointed. Although the familial tale that dominates the narrative lacks punch, and some of the characters are too brittle to be taken easily (especially Nolte's onscreen daughter, who is too abrasive by half), Brooks' astute observations comprise a hearty story. Anything is also filled with good scenes even if, as a whole, it never reaches the heights of its creator's other, more developed works. As mentioned earlier, the film was intended by Brooks to be a full-scale musical (complete with choreography by Twyla Tharp and songs by Prince, among others) until negative test screenings suggested removing them entirely. However, the final cut of I'll Do Anything does contain one of the numbers, a final send-off sung to Nolte by young Whittni Wright.
by Jason Clark review