Over the centuries, the Muse, known as the goddess of creativity, has been depicted as an otherworldly creature inspiring the artist at work. She has usually been portrayed as a being outside of us. In this comedy written and directed by Albert Brooks, the Muse is a bizarre woman in Hollywood named Sarah (Sharon Stone) who is busy dispensing inspiration to directors Rob Reiner, James Cameron, Martin Scorsese, and others.
Sarah, who has weird hair and expensive tastes, comes to the rescue of Steven Phillips (Albert Brooks), a screenplay writer who has just won a humanitarian award but lost his "edge," according to Josh Martin (Mark Feuerstein), a self-absorbed Paramount executive who drops his contract. Jack Warrick (Jeff Bridges), a friend who is flying high with success, recommends Sarah. He doesn't warn Steven that she must constantly be assuaged with gifts and even a place to live. Still, not only does this Muse inspire Steven, she provides the encouragement his wife, Laura (Andie MacDowell), needs to start her own business making gourmet cookies.
In this sprightly comedy, Albert Brooks squeezes out plenty of laughs at the expense of the Hollywood film community. The drama indirectly reveals that the best Muse lives inside us if we will only heed her calls. Both Steven and Laura learn that they only need a spark to fuel their best efforts. Or as Margaret Sackville has wisely observed: "Great imaginations are apt to work from hints and suggestions and a simple moment of emotion is sometimes sufficient to create a masterpiece."