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BOWFINGER: DVD

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.

"Bobby Bowfinger (Steve Martin) has a dream: to one day have the FedEx truck stop by his bungalow with a package. That would make him an important film producer. To realise his dream, he sets out to make a film called Chubby Rain, starring the world's greatest movie star, Kit Ramsay (Eddie Murphy) - but without Kit's knowledge. Bowfinger Productions does everything it can to make this dream a reality. Even cheat.

If you enjoyed the movie, you will enjoy the DVD - even though neither the deleted scenes nor the outtakes are as funny as the movie itself. But that's not to say this DVD isn't worth having. Indeed, the Spotlight on Location feature is one of the best of its kind on DVD, and the Frank Oz commentary over the movie itself is a delightful combination of intelligent insight and funny anecdotes.

This featurette covers all the key players and provides a solid backdrop to Steve Martin's 'silly and clever at the same time' script. We learn how Martin had the basic idea for the film a dozen years before he wrote it, and how proud he is of it. He remarks, too, how Hollywood is "ripe to be kidded…and it's harmless kidding but with a lot of truth." As Oz adds, "Steve Martin makes fun of everybody in Hollywood, so it's a great equal opportunity script. And slightly subversive…" And at times, politically incorrect, as when Martin's script calls for illegal Mexican migrants to be picked up at the border to be used as cheap film crew.

In this satisfying backgrounder, Eddie Murphy and Steve Martin admire each other's talents, Frank Oz oozes experienced control, Heather Graham is a doll and Christine Baranski is surprisingly demur.

As for the commentary track, Oz gives a guided tour of the filmmaking process, and explains how he regrets having to lose several wonderful jokes for the sake of pacing the film. He also explains how he previewed the film eight times to live audiences in the final editing process to see how it plays, and adjusted scenes accordingly.

We learn how two of the best scenes were shot: the car park scene in which Eddie Murphy's character is ostensibly followed by a mysterious woman (in fact a dog with shoes); and the freeway crossing scene, in which Eddie Murphy (as the nerdy brother to the 'star' of Bowfinger's movie) runs across a freeway between speeding cars and trucks. This is the sort of extra material that generates value in a DVD. (It also offers dubbed versions in French, Italian and Spanish.)

With the combination of elements, this is a great workshop tool for anyone exploring screen comedy - either professionally or from a consumer's point of view. Sit back and let the good laughs roll."
Andrew L. Urban

"I have a confession to make. I've seen Bowfinger three times, and each time I laugh more. If you enjoy comedy a la Steve Martin, Eddie Murphy and Frank Oz, you'll get a lot out of this delightful comedy. There are a million delicious moments - some subtle, some not – and you can enjoy them all at your leisure on this superb DVD. And once you've seen the movie a couple of times, you can sit back and let director Oz take the reins, and hear all about how the film was made. If you're interested in trivia, there's plenty here, and Oz details how he encouraged his stars to improvise where possible. As for that wonderful scene when Eddie Murphy crosses a frenetically busy freeway? You'll find out how it was done. I have plenty of favourite moments in this film, but none more than Chapter 8 – the restaurant scene, when Martin sets his sights on impressing Robert Downey Junior's character with more bs than in the hungarian alphabet. As for Betsy, that adorable dog, who contentedly lies legs astride for most of the film – she is a real scene stealer – you won't forget the car park scene in a hurry. There are enough special features to keep you out of mischief for hours – even days!"
Louise Keller

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BOWFINGER (M 15+ )
COLLECTOR'S EDITION
(US)

CAST: Steve Martin, Eddie Murphy, Heather Graham, Christine Baranski, Terence Stamp

DIRECTOR: Frank Oz

RUNNING TIME: 93 minutes

RRP: $39.95

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Columbia TriStar

DVD RELEASE: June 6, 2000

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