Saturday, January 23, 2016

Bowfinger (1999)

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

Sometimes, it takes a lot of determination to do what you want to do.  Robert K. Bowfinger (played by Steve Martin) wants to produce a movie and he has determination to spare.  What he doesn’t have is a good script, cash, or enough talent to go around.  One day, Bowfinger’s accountant/receptionist, Afrim, comes up with a script for a movie called Chubby Rain.  (The premise is that aliens come down in rain drops, making them bigger than normal.)

Now, Bowfinger has the script, but he still faces all of the other problems.  To add to his troubles, he can only get in with a studio if he gets Kit Ramsey (played by Eddie Murphy) to star in his movie.  Ramsey is the biggest star in Hollywood.  There’s one small catch: Ramsey doesn’t want to do it.  That’s no problem.  They’ll just film Ramsey without his knowledge.  After all, Bowfinger says that Tom Cruise didn’t know he was in Interview with the Vampire for several years.

So, now, Bowfinger has to lie, cheat and steal his way through the movie.  The only other person that knows what’s going on is Dave and that’s primarily because Dave has a small job at a big studio.  Thus, he can ‘borrow’ equipment.  Bowfinger also ‘borrows’ a credit card from one of the actors to rent or buy equipment.  Since no one else knows that Kit Ramsey isn’t actually involved in the project, Bowfinger has to invent a story as to why Ramsey isn’t to be approached for any reason.

The biggest obstacle is getting the shots of Ramsey where his character has to do something that he wouldn’t normally do.  For this, they hire a look-alike named Jiff.  (Jiff is also played by Eddie Murphy.)  Jiff’s primary job will be to do errands, which he says would be a big boost for him.  When the time comes, he’ll have to do several scenes in Ramsey’s place.  (One of the funniest scenes is the highway scene.  This alone is worth getting the movie.)

Since Bowfinger is a comedy, you have to know that the movie will work out in the end.  Yes, there are major hurdles, setbacks and obstacles, but where there’s a will, there’s a way.  When I had seen the movie, I hadn’t yet really heard of Ed Wood, but for those that know about Wood, you may notice some similarities.  Wood was known for making below-par movies with other people’s money and using a lot of stock footage.

The movie is never slow or boring.  There are a lot of jokes and funny scenes.  Kit Ramsey, for instance, seems to have mental issues.  He’s convinced that alien voices in his head want him to flash the Laker Girls.  (Since he’s already paranoid about aliens, unknowingly starring in a movie about alien invaders isn’t the best thing for him.)  Ramsey is also part of a group called Mind Head, which is a thinly veiled substitute for Scientology.

This is the kind of movie you could watch repeatedly.  There are very few movies I’d recommend buying; this is one of them.  (If you rent it, you’ll probably end up buying it anyway.)  There are so many funny scenes in the movie that you’ll probably miss most of the jokes only because you’re laughing so hard.  This is definitely a must-watch film.

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