Year Released: 1999
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 101 minutes
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Both Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy are at crossroads in their careers. Each, when they were young, was America’s hottest comic actor. Jim Carrey and Adam Sandler vie for that title now. Martin and Murphy can both display as much talent as they ever did, but each has made some bad films in the last ten years. It’s not so easy to find scripts to match their personalities as their personalities have changed with age. The difference between the two is that Martin is now at his best when tethered to reality whereas he used to be Jim Carrey. Murphy, on the other hand, used to do his best in a gritty, realist setting like “48 Hours”, but excels now when he goes off the rails in a character, as in “The Nutty Professor” and “Bowfinger”. Martin has succeeded in crafting a script that plays to both their strengths.
Bobby Bowfinger (Steve Martin) is a wannabe filmmaker and actor. When his accountant and part-time receptionist, Afrim (Adam Alexi-Malle), writes a cheesy sci-fi action script called “Chubby Rain”, Bowfinger sees the film he was destined to make with the help of his rag-tag group of friends on the far fringes of the film industry. After sneaking the film to producers, he tries to convince America’s biggest action star, the extremely paranoid and unstable Kit Ramsey (Eddie Murphy), to take the lead.
After Kit throws Bobby out, Bowfinger decides to make the film anyway, only shooting the actor without his knowledge. With the other actors running up to him and spouting crazed dialogue about an alien invasion, Kit just slides closer to the edge.
This is probably the second funniest film I’ve seen this summer after “South Park”. Bowfinger, is really a modern Ed Wood, minus the sweaters. Ed wanted to make movies in the worst way, and that’s just how Bobby’s going to do it too.
Ed, of course, wouldn’t be Ed without his crazed posse and Bowfinger has his. Foremost is Daisy (Heather Graham), an ingenue fresh off the bus from Ohio who will happily strip or sleep with anyone or anything that will further her career. The charmer is Kit’s body double, his idiot brother Jiff (Eddie Murphy). This allows Murphy to play both ends of the spectrum around Bowfinger and completely steal every scene he’s in (easy when you sport a very, uh, distinct Kennedy fixation).
The point to all this? Just watch two of the still funniest guys in the country do what they do best, without a bad script to get in the way. Some brutal jabs at Scientology are a nice added bonus. Who knows? You might actually learn a little something about filmmaking, though this is probably not the best way to go about it.
Posted on August 16, 1999 in Reviews by Ron Wells
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