Directed by Frank Oz.
Written by Steve Martin.
Starring Steve Martin, Eddie Murphy and Heather Graham.
Release Year: 1999
Review Date: 8/15/99
I must admit, this movie was one of the
flicks that I have been looking forward to all summer, since I first
saw the preview for it and Eddie Murphy, wearing some ridiculous
old-school glasses, is auditioning for a part in Steve Martin's new
movie, and Martin asks "Are you willing to show your bare buttocks
on screen?" Murphy's reaction is just classic, and even though
you've seen it in the previews, it is still just as funny when you
see it during the full-length movie.
Thankfully, "Bowfinger" is funny
throughout. The title refers to one of the worst low-budget
directors of all time, Bobby Bowfinger (Martin), and as the movie
opens he has just read a script that he thinks is the ticket out of
the B-movie purgatory that he currently works in, an alien sci-fi
action movie called "Chubby Rain." After a "meeting" with a
high-ranking Hollywood executive (Robert Downey Jr.), Bowfinger
figures that the only way that his fledgling production company will
actually get his film rolling is to add the biggest action star in
Hollywood, Kit Ramsey (Murphy). Only one problem: Ramsey meets
Bowfinger and immediately tosses him out of a car, so Bowfinger
figures that he will do the next best thing to asking Ramsey to star
in his film--he *won't* ask him, he'll just have the other film's
actors run into Ramsey on the streets of Los Angeles and say their
Can it work? Penelope, her sister Melissa,
and myself all thought that it did, and the ridiculous ways that
Bowfinger shoots these scenes around Ramsey's shock at meeting
people everyday that won't stop talking about aliens comes off
pretty well. There is some of the funniest stuff I have seen in a
couple of years in this movie--the way Bowfinger goes out and hires
"the best production team money can buy" and the epilogue, "Fake
Purse Ninjas"--and plenty of really creative ways that Bowfinger's
crack movie-making machine come out with money camera shots.
All of the acting is strong here, with Steve
Martin playing up to form in a movie that he scripted on his own.
Murphy actually is playing two roles here, but his Kit Ramsey gets a
lot of the funny things to say as he constantly riffs about being a
black action star in white Hollywood. Plus, of course, he is the
one that is being chased all around town by Bowfinger's other cast
members. Seth Green, as far as I could tell uncredited but
nevertheless is appearing in his 2,477th film of this summer, is
good as Martin's cameraman. Other support by Downey Jr. and Terence
Stamp as Ramsey's spiritual healer and consultant is pretty solid.
OK, take four seconds and think: who is the
hottest young typecast actress in Hollywood right now?
Yep, you guessed it: Heather Graham!!
Here, once again, she is playing the sweet, innocent, slightly
unintelligent girl that is giving the sex away like it's her job!!
This time, instead of wearing around rollerblades or a secret agent
badge, she gets to wear a lot of loud colors and bang every person
on Bowfinger's staff in an attempt to earn more scenes and status on
the set of the movie. I'm sure that Heather Graham is a nice girl,
but if she doesn't do something besides this character type soon,
she's in for a long, thankless career.
Negatives: although I'm sure that in some
scenes it was intentional (like a love scene between Graham and
Martin), some of the lines in this movie are ridiculous, kept simple
so that everyone in the audience could keep up. And a couple of the
plot devices, like how Bowfinger blackmails Stamp's character near
the end of the movie, seemed to be gratuitously inserted to just
make the plot work; I thought that Martin could have come up with a
better way to finish his in-plot movie. But, these are little
things, since the movie as a whole is very, very funny.
Rating: $7.50 Show
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard