Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, February 5, 2015


Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy
BOWFINGER (1999). Director: Frank Oz. Screenplay by Steve Martin.

Robert Bowfinger (Steve Martin of The Pink Panther) is a bottom-of-the-barrel film producer who keeps his actors on a string by promising them that the lead in his next production will be mega-star action hero Kit Ramsay (Eddie Murphy) -- they're sure to get financing. Unfortunately Ramsay has no interest in appearing in his movie, a terrible concoction called "Chubby Rain," so Bowfinger comes up with a scheme of filming him secretly while telling his cast members that Ramsay prefers to work without meeting his fellow actors. Said actors consist of Carol (Christine Baranski), who gets more "grand" with every scene; handsome Slater (Kohl Sudduth), who is cute and clueless; Daisy (Heather Graham), who is ruthlessly ambitious and sleeps with virtually every member of the cast and crew, and winds up with a power lesbian [a la Anne Heche, whom Martin dated and who is said to be the model for Daisy]; Afrim (Adam Alexi-Molle), who also wrote the "Chubby Rain" screenplay; and Jiff (Eddie Murphy), a nerdy lookalike of Ramsay's who turns out to be his brother. Jaime Kennedy plays the jack-of-all-trades who helps in a wide variety of ways. There are some hilarious scenes in this movie, and it's so basically good-natured, loopy and amiable that you want to love it, but Martin has to overdo everything and the movie eventually becomes too silly, stupid and unfunny -- there's simply not enough plot to make a full-length picture. The cast is quite good, with an outstanding Murphy positively stealing the picture as likable Jiff, who in one very funny scene has to run across a highway full of speeding vehicles that he's been told are driven by "stunt men." Perhaps the funniest line is actually in one of the out-takes, when someone mentions Robert De Niro and Carol mutters "such a diva!"

Verdict: Very cute, often very funny, but an hour of this would have been enough. **1/2.

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