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BOWFINGER

SYNOPSIS:
Bobby Bowfinger (Steve Martin) is a wannabe movie producer/director, on the outer fringes of Hollywood. With the help of a rapidly assembled assortment of aspiring misfits including an ambitious starlet (Heather Graham), an eager nerd (Jamie Kennedy), a has-been diva (Christine Baranski) and a would-be writer (Adam Alexi-Malle), Bowfinger comes up with a unique method to trick one of the world's biggest action movie stars, the paranoid Kit (Eddie Murphy), into starring in his (very) low-budget movie, without realising he is actually in it.

"There's something about Steve Martin that just makes me laugh. From Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, to Father of the Bride and Out of Towners, he has a certain innocence that is blatantly appealing. His craziness seems sincere and the world that Martin inhabits is off-beam, off-centre, and always very funny. Then there's Eddie Murphy. Now, his craziness has a wider range. From Coming to America to Nutty Professor, there's a wildness about him that somehow feels uncontrollable. Put them together, and you have the ambrosial Bowfinger, a wild, wacky and wonderful comedy, ripe with imagination and displayed with flair. Martin's inventive script has pizzazz, charm and heart, bringing together a quirky idea, beautifully developed and played to its capacity. Director Frank Oz (who also directed Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) has a great comedic touch, and never is a point laboured. In fact one of the things I like best about Bowfinger, is its subtlety. Surprising? Take the scene in which we find Bowfinger in a clothing shop. He displays his unique way of acquiring a new wardrobe quickly and subtly. It's almost a throwaway. But a lot of the film is like that. In fact there's so much going on, it could probably benefit from a second viewing. The scene in Le Dome one of LA's trendy eateries is played to perfection; the set up blatant, the execution brilliant. Everyone looks as though they are having fun and it's contagious. Wonderful casting in Terence Stamp, while the alluring Heather Graham keeps the rumour alive and lively about the actress who sleeps her way to stardom. Christine Baranski is always good value, and Robert Downey Jnr's cameo works well. There's also an adorable dog named Betsy, whose carpark scene is one of the film's highlights. A ticklish ride, Bowfinger is a delightful story about dreams, and the most improbable way of making them come true."
Louise Keller

"In Bowfinger, the objective of all involved - from writer Steve Martin to director Frank OZ and the entire cast - is to have fun and to make sure the audience has fun, too. There are no messages, even though it sometimes looks as though the film is a Hollywood parody. Martin's script, influenced variously by input from Eddie Murphy and Oz, keeps focused on the simple (but not so easy) premise that comedy is an end in itself. Along the way, things happen. The film appears to be made with abandon, a sure sign of comic success, and it occasionally teeters on the farcical or slapstick, but in the spirit of celebrating those trusty comedic forms. Martin, playing a misguided romantic with a capacity for audacity, pragmatism and artful dodging, holds the film together. But his supporting team is great value, with Eddie Murphy making his larger than life Kit an entirely workable creation. Robert Downey Jnr's cameo stands out for being naturalistic amidst the scenery chewing largesse of the others - none of which is wasted, I hasten to add. For instance, the scene where Kit's nerdy brother Jiff has to cross a busy four lane highway for Bowfinger's camera has the makings of a classic in the tradition of the great silent films where trams and people managed to barely miss each other by a hair's breadth. Bowfinger is satisfying if you want to have a seriously lengthy laugh."
Andrew L. Urban

"Comedy's a funny thing. This one isn't. At least I didn't find it funny. It's a weird thing to sit in a cinema with some people chuckling away constantly and others barely able to raise a smile. In the case of Bowfinger, I found myself very much in the latter category. Eddie Murphy is very funny. He seems to grow in all round ability with each role he tackles. Christine Baranski as the missed-her-opportunity leading lady was also worth a chuckle. Robert Downey Jr., Terence Stamp, and Heather Graham all did their bit. The problem for me, as it so often is with his films, was Steve Martin. He wrote the script and plays the title character. For me, his acting hasn't progressed any from his Saturday Night Live days where he excelled at the caricatured sketch comedy format, one which relies heavily on hammy, signalled performances. Similarly, his scriptwriting is obvious in its direction, providing no surprises and little wit or finesse. Yet for others he is America's sweetheart comic genius. And there was a considerable number of people in the audience responding hysterically to every pulled face, every telegraphed event, every obvious line. They say comedy is regional. In this case I'd have to say it's personal. So if you like Steve Martin I guess you'll love it. But if you're like me, you should stay at home."
Lee Gough

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

TRAILER

Bowfinger is a film that just wants to have fun, its creator
STEVE MARTIN tells our European correspondent, Jorn Rossing Jensen.

See our DVD REVIEWS

BOWFINGER (M)
(US)

CAST: Steve Martin, Eddie Murphy, Heather Graham, Christine Baranski, Jamie Kennedy, Barry Newman, Adam Alexi-Malle, Kohl Sudduth, Terence Stamp, Robert Downey Jr

DIRECTOR: Frank Oz

PRODUCER: Brian Grazer

SCRIPT: Steve Martin

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Ueli Steiger

EDITOR: Richard Pearson

MUSIC: David Newman

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Jackson Degovia

RUNNING TIME: 97 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: UIP

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: December 26, 1999

VIDEO RELEASE: June 14, 2000

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Universal Pictures Home Video







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