Plot: What’s it about?
Bobby Bowfinger (Steve Martin) has just discovered a hot script, “Chubby Rain,” which he feels will be the next sci/fi blockbuster. But what he needs for a “go” picture is nothing less than the hottest star in the business, action star Kit Ramsey (Eddie Murphy). Ramsey is sickened by the script, and not only refuses to do the movie, but throws Bowfinger out of his limo. But Bowfinger has a plan, he cooks up a scam bigger than anything before. He is going to secretly film Ramsey, while the actors do their parts, and make the movie. But Ramsey is having issues, such as alien paranoia and the urge to show his manhood to the Laker girls. But, the production for Chubby Rain continues, and Bowfinger assembles a stellar cast and crew. He hires his friends for the most part, as well an illegal band of Mexicans for the crew, and a loose starlet wannabe (Heather Graham). When Kit can’t “keep it together” due to the strange encounters he has the actors, he checks into Mindhead, a mental therapy place for a few days. Bad news for Bowfinger, as he needs Kit for some more shots. But have no fear, he finds Jiff (Eddie Murphy), who looks exactly like Kit, except for the fact that he is a nerd! Will Bowfinger be able to pull off the complex scam and make his movie? Or will this caper indicate the end of his career?
Bowfinger is a must see movie, it is great writing, great directing, and great casting, what more can you want? The concept of putting someone in a movie without them knowing it may seem hard to pull off, but trust me, this movie does it perfectly. The movie is hilarious, but as the storyline unfolds, the laughs are bigger and better. The best thing about Bowfinger is that while the movie is very funny, it’s also very smart. The jokes are not just sight gags or tired verbal jokes, they are well written pieces that are not just original, they’re like a breath of fresh comedic air. I didn’t go see this at theaters, due to my recent disappointments in big screen comedies, but I wish now that I would have. After seeing it in it’s entirety, I can easily say Bowfinger was the funniest movie of 1999, and one of the funniest I have seen in a while. Another reason this movie works is the chemistry between the cast. I mean, there are several key people in Bowfinger’s group, and they all bring a little depth to their characters, and they do a fine job of showing team spirit, if that’s the word. Speaking of the cast…
Steve Martin is one of my favorite comedic actors, with such classics as The Jerk, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and Roxanne. In Bowfinger, he brings a blend of his older style of comedy and a new, smarter type, which makes for a hilarious movie. I believe this to be one of his best roles to date, and with his filmography, that’s really saying something. Eddie Murphy (Beverly Hills Cop 1-3, The Golden Child) gives the best performance of his career as both Kit and Jiff, almost stealing the show when Jiff is on camera. Murphy is known his multiple roles within movies, but this is an exception to his tradition, as his extra character here has some actual depth, not just another face on camera, like in The Nutty Professor. Heather Graham (Lost in Space, Twins) is present, and I find her as annoying as ever, I know the guys will disagree with me, but her acting is subpar to be kind, and if her looks is all she has, well, I think a porno career would suit her best. And I doubt her fans would be upset about that. Also appearing in Bowfinger are Terence Stamp (The Limey, Alien Nation), Robert Downey, Jr. (Chaplin, Natural Born Killers), Christine Baranski (Bulworth, The Birdcage), and Jamie Kennedy (Scream 1-2, Three Kings.)
Video: How does it look?
Bowfinger is another knockout visual transfer from Universal, who continues to be among the best in DVD today. The movie is featured in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, which looks amazing. Of course, the movie’s young age accounts for the pristine print condition, but it’s still refreshing to see no flecks and other mars. Colors look excellent, with bright and vivid tones, but some reds tend to bleed in a few scenes. Nothing major though, so settle on down. Black levels are deep and correct, even the murkiest shadows retain full detail. Aside from some minor issues, this is a fantastic transfer!
Audio: How does it sound?
All right now, Bowfinger is a dialogue driven comedy, so don’t work yourself up over the audio. Sure, the disc includes both DDS and DTS tracks, but this ain’t the movie to compare the two with. The Dolby Digital track is more than ample, with clear dialogue and music. While there is some surround use by this track, the movie does not lend itself to much in that area. The DTS track is just as solid on dialogue, and actually improves on the Dolby Digital track when it comes to music and effects. There is not more surround use, but what is there sounds fuller on this track. I don’t think it matters for a movie like this, but on action movies, I think you’ll hear the difference.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Universal has loaded this disc with goodies, but kept the price tag low. This could easily qualify as part of their Collector’s Edition series, but it’s not labeled as such. Hence, the lower price. Anyway, you get the usual talent files, production notes, and trailers. The trailers are for Bowfinger, as well as some other Universal releases. Included is a twenty-two minute “Spotlight On Location,” which is mainly interviews and some behind the scenes shots. This seems like nothing more than a long running promotional piece, but hey, it’s better than a five minute promotional piece! You get two deleted scenes, one a very short scene, the other an alternate opening sequence. A short out-takes reel is on this disc, and while short, it packs a good comedic punch, be sure to check this out. The best part is the running commentary by director Frank Oz. While he does not sound as much like Yoda as I expected, there’s a little of the Force still in there. Oz reveals some good information about the making of Bowfinger, and I enjoyed his commentary very much.