Authors Anonymous (2014)

(On Cable TV, August 2015) I am, as noted elsewhere, an almost-helpless sucker for movies about writers.  Notwithstanding my own delusions of authorhood, my decades-long involvement in science-fiction fandom in two separate languages means that I’ve met and befriended a lot of writers, giving me a bit of insight into the profession.  As such, it’s hard to watch Author Anonymous without noticing the very broad stereotypes used in the film, the dumb jokes, the rather unidimensional ways the writing characters are presented, and the somewhat acid conclusion.  The premise has something to do with a documentary about a Los-Angeles-based writer’s group, but there are serious issues with the useless mockumentary conceit – the film isn’t all that interested in keeping that illusion going, and the interview-with-the-writers material could have been presented more elegantly.  Still, Authors Anonymous does have plenty of small chuckles to offer, mostly playing off the delusions of the characters: The military guy (Denis Farina, in fine form) idolizing Tom Clancy and resorting to self-publishing; the brooding young man emulating Bukowski without ever writing more than a page; the bored housewife seeing writing as an affectation; her enabling husband (Dylan Walsh, effortlessly charming) confusing ideas with actual writing; and a bubblehead (Kaley Cuoco, playing her own sitcom role) who manages to put a book together without having read one before.  There is a protagonist of sort played by Chris Klein as an honest author afflicted with writer’s block and being jealous of an unlikely success, but the film doesn’t really care all that much about him.  As you may imagine, this is the kind of weakness that can limit a film’s success, and Authors Anonymous is perhaps more tolerable as a string of cheap jokes and stereotypes about writers.  Never mind the conclusion or some of the ways it gets there.  Non-writers may or may not appreciate the film as much as writers will or won’t.

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