Sunday, November 13, 2016

Movie Review: "Bowfinger" (1999)

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Director: Frank Oz
Year: 1999
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 37 minutes

A shady low budget film producer named Bobby Bowfinger (Steve Martin) thinks he has finally found the perfect script. Now, all he needs is the perfect star. So, he plans on making the biggest action star in Hollywood, Kit Ramsey (Eddie Murphy) the lead of his film. He gathers a cast and crew to shoot the movie with Kit as the lead...Kit just doesn't know it yet.

Written by Steve Martin and directed by Frank Oz, "Bowfinger" is a movie about Hollywood's favorite subject: Hollywood! Steve Martin also stars as the titular Bobby Bowfinger, a shady movie producer who is on the brink of financial failure. He believes he has found the script that will finally be a winner, a sci-fi action flick called "Chubby Rain." He believes his movie will be a surefire financial success so long as he can get Kit Ramsey, played by Eddie Murphy, the biggest action star in Hollywood, to play the lead character. The only caveat is Bowfinger can't actually afford to pay Ramsey, so he decides to gather a cast and crew to shoot the entire film around him without his knowledge. Therein lies the humor. A bunch of B-level actors Kit doesn't know show up out of nowhere spouting lines about about aliens and other bizarre things to his face almost every day. To make matters worse, Kit is uber paranoid and a member of Mindhead, a clear play on the church of Scientology, so having people show up talking about aliens only helps feed his paranoia.

For the most part, "Bowfinger" is a borderline clever satire that pokes fun at Hollywood and the way they do business and approach film making. The entire concept of the film, the dialogue, and the situations are nothing short of outrageous, silly, and frankly, kind of stupid. We have a hunch this may be the entire point of the film, but it's still worth mentioning. Steve Martin plays up the visual gags with the occasional line of witty dialogue, and Eddie Murphy is, once again, playing more than one role, but at least this time, both of his characters look alike. His character Kit is loud, obnoxious, and conceited, and the other, Jeff, is far more reserved and much more goofy. Other performances include Heather Graham as the man-hopping young, new actress named Daisy, Christine Baranski as an aging star named Carol, and Jamie Kennedy as Dave. Together, these characters and a bunch of others must get together to film their terrible movie around a man who doesn't even know they are shooting a film. It's zaniness as its finest...well, maybe not its finest.

There are quite a few laughs in "Bowfinger" and we completely see and appreciate what Frank Oz and company are trying to accomplish by flipping the script on Hollywood, but the overall finished product doesn't quite do it for us. It's no surprise why Tinseltown loves this flick.

My Rating: 5/10
BigJ's Rating: 5.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.4/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 81%
Do we recommend this movie: Meh.

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