Bowfinger

"OK"

Bowfinger Review


Steve Martin's second sacchariney satire of life in L.A., "Bowfinger" is a junk food comedy, packed with instant gratification laughs that fade away almost immediately after the credits roll.

An often hilarious mockery of the film industry written by its star, the movie gets its giggles by lampooning tantrum-prone A-list actors, Scientology, cell phone culture and the fine line between $90-million action movies and the unmitigated stupidity of B-grade monster flicks, among other things.

Martin plays Bobby Bowfinger, a desperate, middle-aged slouch of a movie maker with a dead-end career who has grafted an ionic column facade onto his run down, freeway-adjacent stucco bungalow home/office in an attempt to give it the grandiose air of a studio entrance.

Bowfinger is pushing 50 and after years of producing two-bit schlock (posters on his wall have titles like "A Bucket of Blondes"), he's positively frantic for what he sees as a last shot for a big break.

With an alleged masterpiece, alien invasion script called "Chubby Rain" in his pocket, he sets out to recruit Kit Ramsey (Eddie Murphy), the biggest action star on the planet, for his lead, and is thrown out on his ear almost instantaneously.

But desperate times call for desperate measures, so Bowfinger decides to put Kit Ramsey in the movie whether he likes it or not. His cast and crew begin stalking the star with hidden (not to mention stolen) cameras. Actors run up to him on the street and say their lines, then run away. As long as Ramsey is in the shot, Bowfinger is happy. He'll piece the story together later.

Murphy is a riot as the already-paranoid Ramsey, whose unhinged neuroses go off the chart when these strangers start assaulting him with nonsense about alien invaders and saving the world. But he's even funnier as Jiff, a four-eyed, brace-faced, 100-percent pure dork Bowfinger hires as Ramsey's double for long shots and, it turns out, love scenes.

Those love scenes weren't part of the original "Chubby Rain" script, but the writer makes revisions after some horizontal persuasion from Daisy (Heather Graham), a feeble but not as naive as she seems rookie starlet, fresh off the bus from Ohio.

Directed by Frank Oz ("In and Out"), "Bowfinger" is enjoyably idiotic and has a steady supply of hard laughs, but Hollywood is such an easy target and as a Tinsle Town satire Martin's screenplay is pretty toothless. It goes for lovable when it should be going for the jugular. Even though the industry mockery is adequately astute, when the lights come up, most of film is quickly forgettable.

Some of the performances do stick with you, however -- especially Murphy's. He's good as the arrogant nutcase Kit Ramsey, who wants a great catch phrase more than anything else in life -- but he absolutely kills as the dim-witted Jiff, the kind of guy who can't help but whisper "Awesome!" and grin like an idiot when Daisy takes off her top for a sex scene take.

Even though it's obvious that the story for "Chubby Rain," the picture-within-a-picture, was written around gags Martin wanted to squeeze into "Bowfinger," the movie is at its best when the desperate director is shooting Ramsey on the sly and trying to MacGuyver his movie together on his $2,184 life savings (all of it in one dollar bills).

But while Martin's first SoCal spoof -- the sweetly surreal "L.A. Story" -- was a delightful, old-fashioned romance with a twist, set against the ironically unromantic backdrop of Los Angeles (but not the film business), the soft touch of "Bowfinger" is just too docile for an industry farce. And it gets especially pappy toward the end. When the dreadful "Chubby Rain" finally has its star-studded premiere, Oz plays it like a magical moment, with an earnest emotional swell in the soundtrack.

"Bowfinger" isn't bad. I laughed as much at this film as I have at anything this summer except for "South Park." But the comedy has a half-life no longer than the time it takes to walk to the car when the movie's over.



Bowfinger

Facts and Figures

Run time: 97 mins

In Theaters: Friday 13th August 1999

Distributed by: Universal Studios

Production compaines: Universal Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 80%
Fresh: 86 Rotten: 22

IMDB: 6.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Kit Ramsey and Jeffernson 'Jiff' Ramsey, as Bobby Bowfinger, as Daisy, as Carol, as Dave, as Afrim, Kohl Sudduth as Slater, as Hal, Kit's Agent, as Terry Stricter, Robert Downey Jr. as Jerry Renfro, Alejandro Patino as Sanchez, Alfred De Contreras as Martinez, Ramiro Fabian as Hector, Johnny Sanchez as Luis, Claude Brooks as Freddy, Kevin Scannell as LA Cop, as MindHead Executive, Michael Dempsey as Camera Security Guard, Walter Powell as Federal Express Man, Phill Lewis as Actor at Audition, as Young Actress at Audition, as Clothing Sales Clerk, Brogan Roche as Renfro's Executive, as Nightclub Cleaner, Lloyd Berman as Camera Store Clerk, Zaid Farid as Kenny, Kit's Limo Driver, Aaron Brumfield as Kit's Bodyguard, as Kit's Bodyguard, Kimble Jemison as Kit's Assistant, as Studio Executive, Laura Grady as E! Channel Interviewer, Reamy Hall as Farrah, Hollywood Lesbian, Michelle Boehle as Laker Girl, Kimberly Baum as Laker Girl, Megan Denton as Laker Girl, Janet Jaeger as Laker Girl, Hope Wood as Laker Girl, Addie Yungmee as Laker Girl, Andrea Toste as Laker Girl, Mindy as Betsy - Bowfinger's Dog, Carl Kocis as Reporter at Premier, Tiger Mendez as 'Mongo' Premiere Guest, Steve J. Termath as Black Masked Ninja

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Advertisement
Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Sing Movie Review

Sing Movie Review

The quality of the animation in this musical comedy may not be up to Pixar...

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.