(Janet Maslin's review appeared in The New York Times, January 6.)


Books of The Times

A Pillow-Talk Portrait of a Hollywood Survivor  

In writing his exhaustingly detailed biography of Warren Beatty, Peter Biskind relied on strange rules of decorum. He decided that Mr. Beatty’s relationship with his wife, Annette Bening, “was off limits, because I didn’t want to be in the position of writing anything that might embarrass them or their four children.” He chose to respect the privacy of the Beatty household. Less sacrosanct: Mr. Beatty’s pants.


So “Star” has its salacious moments, most of them startlingly crude even in the context of a book eager to gossip. But the awkward sexual asides in “Star” seem oddly irrelevant to Mr. Biskind’s own idea of hot stuff. He sounds far more excited by trying to guess the true budget of “Ishtar” than by quoting a description of how Mr. Beatty looks in a steam room. And “Star” lets the budget details and other petty bickering take up far more space.


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