At the core of Simone is a sharp piece of satire: a filmmaker known for artistically stunning flops makes it big with a purely computer-generated actress. The script takes aim at both Hollywood, which is driven by the art of the deal, and at the public, which reacts like sheep to the calculated “magic” of Simone—an amalgam of great actresses’ best features: Ingrid Bergman’s turn of the head, Julia Roberts’s lips, Audrey Hepburn’s winsome smile. As the painfully arty director, Al Pacino is restrained almost to the point of numbness; as his ex-wife studio exec, Catherine Keener is magnetic. Yet the film never quite achieves the sharp edge satire demands, largely because director Andrew Niccol, who was so good at managing tone in Gattaca, can’t decide whether to go with nasty or hilariously farcical.