Rating: Rated PG-13
Steve Martin writes a good "Hollywood" story, a clever "Hollywood Play," and has, over the years, been involved in a number of very funny movies (not to mention "Pennies from Heaven," one of the last musicals from Hollywood that was not a Hollywood musical, hence with all its profound ingredients, failed at the box office). My only problem is not with the film but with critics who are comparing it to "The Producers," Mel Brooks’ great satire of the theatre business that was not only funny, but a cutting look at the acting profession. "Bowfinger" is very funny--hilarious at moments--but does not bring you face-to-face with cutting-edge happenings.
Steve Martin is Bowfinger, a man who operates a very shoddy Hollywood producers complex consisting of small rooms, one telephone, and an answering machine. He’s always looking for that one big hit that will put him on the map. He is also surrounded by a couple of actors, also looking for their big break, plus an electrician and a writer. Martin lets loose with some great lines that mirror life in a world that worships power like a bee worships pollen--only the bee has a good excuse.
His writer comes up with a science fiction script called "Chubby Rain," about space aliens hiding in drops of rain. But in order to get it produced, they need a star. So they settle on Kit Ramsey--wonderfully played by Eddie Murphy in as good-natured portrayal as he’s ever done. Unfortunately they can’t get close to the star so come up with the idea of following Kit around town, shooting footage on the sly, his camera crew consisting of illegal immigrants picked up at the Mexican border. "Did you know that Tom Cruise had no idea he was in that vampire movie until two years later?" Bobby asks of his crew.
One of the female leads is Carol, played by Christine Baranski. She’s the diva who wants to be in a hit but experience tells here that something is wrong with how they are shooting this movie. Suddenly Bowfinger realizes that he needs a double for Kit and they fall upon Kit’s mentally-challenged brother (again played to perfection my Murphy). Enter Heather Graham as Daisy, the sex-pot who is also needed for success. Now Carol knows something is wrong but hey! Success ahead! So they all push ahead to the now obvious climax.
Directed by Frank Oz and written by Martin, this is not a perfect movie; one wishes there were more barbs and less obvious plays to laughter but this is always the problem when trying to do a serious movie for a small percentage of Americans yet spark it up with enough stuff to attract the general public. For the most part, they do succeed.