One has to wonder if extremely talented and successful filmmakers often undergo periods where they have to purge themselves of pet ideas and projects, which may look good on paper, but when translated to film come up far short of their original intent. Barry Levinson is a tremendous filmmaker who has made his share of both great films like Diner and Rain Main and clunkers like Toys. Unfortunately for him, Jimmy Hollywood falls into the latter category. On the surface, it's a great idea: a wannabe Hollywood actor, played by Joe Pesci in a horrible blond wig no less, accidentally becomes a community street vigilante. It's sort of amusing watching this talentless bum become a hero by playing the role of his life without even realizing he's doing it. Sadly, that's about the extent of the depth to which the film rises (or sinks). What's most depressing is that pieces of a really funny movie are visible at times, but they disappear rather quickly. Christian Slater is all but useless as a burned-out do-nothing sidekick, which makes one wonder about the reason he is in the film at all except that perhaps the studio execs thought they could con the teen market into showing up for this one. Levinson tries to cram a sightseeing tour of Hollywood landmarks in for good measure and to be fair, there are some humorous gags. However, one can't shake the feeling that Levinson was purifying his system before moving on to Sleepers and Wag the Dog.
by Dan Friedman review