The problem isn't the premise: Never-has-been, aging filmmaker Bobby Bowfinger (Martin) is so desperate to make a movie, he decides to film impromptu scenes with major, but paranoid, star Kit Ramsey (Murphy, basically playing himself). Wackiness ensues when the scenes (a sci-fi action film) get crazier and crazier. Sounds like a good plot to me.
It's not the stars. The idea of Martin and Murphy together has had me salivating for this film all summer. Supporting stars like Graham, Stamp (as a Scientology-esque guru), and Baranski all hold up their parts of the picture well, and Murphy's second role as a nerdy Ramsey lookalike is the best part of the movie.
It's not the pacing. Bowfinger jumps along from scene to scene and never gets boring. And on technical merits, the film is a success.
The problem, I think, lies in the comedy. Try as it might, Bowfinger just never manages to be hysterically funny. A few bright spots aside, Bowfinger's jokes almost universally fall flat, with missed comic opportunities buzzing by at every turn. I really wanted to love this picture, but compared to Powers or American Pie, this isn't a brilliant flick.
I think the fault lies with director Frank Oz (best known as the voice of Yoda), none of whose credits (including In & Out have impressed me very much. Oz obviously wanted to craft an adult comedy here, but ended up making a PG-13 film that tries to appeal to all tastes. It's no surprise that it doesn't really click with adults or kids.
On a personal note, Eddie Murphy Productions was this close to buying a script I wrote last year. Who was my contact at the company? Eddie Murphy's brother. Think about that... after you see the movie.
Run time: 97 mins
In Theaters: Friday 13th August 1999
Distributed by: Universal Studios
Production compaines: Universal Pictures
Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 80%
Fresh: 86 Rotten: 22
IMDB: 6.4 / 10
Director: Frank Oz
Producer: Brian Grazer
Screenwriter: Steve Martin
Starring: Eddie Murphy as Kit Ramsey and Jeffernson 'Jiff' Ramsey, Steve Martin as Bobby Bowfinger, Heather Graham as Daisy, Christine Baranski as Carol, Jamie Kennedy as Dave, Adam Alexi-Malle as Afrim, Kohl Sudduth as Slater, Barry Newman as Hal, Kit's Agent, Terence Stamp as Terry Stricter, Robert Downey Jr. as Jerry Renfro, Alejandro Patino as Sanchez, Alfred De Contreras as Martinez, Ramiro Fabian as Hector, Johnny Sanchez as Luis, Claude Brooks as Freddy, Kevin Scannell as LA Cop, John Prosky as MindHead Executive, Michael Dempsey as Camera Security Guard, Walter Powell as Federal Express Man, Phill Lewis as Actor at Audition, Marisol Nichols as Young Actress at Audition, Nathan Anderson as Clothing Sales Clerk, Brogan Roche as Renfro's Executive, John Cho as Nightclub Cleaner, Lloyd Berman as Camera Store Clerk, Zaid Farid as Kenny, Kit's Limo Driver, Aaron Brumfield as Kit's Bodyguard, Kevin Grevioux as Kit's Bodyguard, Kimble Jemison as Kit's Assistant, Alex Craig Mann as Studio Executive, Laura Grady as E! Channel Interviewer, Reamy Hall as Farrah, Hollywood Lesbian, Michelle Boehle as Laker Girl, Kimberly Baum as Laker Girl, Megan Denton as Laker Girl, Janet Jaeger as Laker Girl, Hope Wood as Laker Girl, Addie Yungmee as Laker Girl, Andrea Toste as Laker Girl, Mindy as Betsy - Bowfinger's Dog, Carl Kocis as Reporter at Premier, Tiger Mendez as 'Mongo' Premiere Guest, Steve J. Termath as Black Masked Ninja
Also starring: Brian Grazer
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