Director Steven Soderbergh ventures into Robert Altman territory with this free-form, multi-character parade of apparently semi-improvised incidents centering around a birthday party for a Hollywood producer named Gus. Among the invited guests are the stars of Gus’ latest movie (Blair Underwood, Julia Roberts), one of the writers (David Hyde Pierce), the writer’s wife (Catherine Keener) and her sister (Mary McCormack). With the playful postmodernism of an A-list director who has the confidence to try anything once, Soderbergh gives us movies-within-movies and mischievous confusion; the film feels like something less than an experiment, something more than a prank. It seems hardly to have been written at all, but there is script credit given to one Coleman Hough (another Soderbergh prank, perhaps?).