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Bowfinger Cover Some people would go to any lengths to become rich, famous, and have their name in lights. They would fight savage tigers upon the cliffs of Nepal – they would gargle with razorblades in the middle of the motorway – and they would star in this film Directed by Frank Oz; with Actors: Steve Martin, Eddie Murphy, Heather Graham, Terence Stamp, and Robert Downey Jr. It was made in 1999, and lasts for 97 minutes. 


All wannabe filmmaker, Robert Bowfinger (Steve Martin) has to do, is get noted actor, Kit Ramsey (Eddie Murphy) to star in his science fiction film, so that studio executive, Jerry Renfro (Robert Downey Jr.), will agree to finance this project.

Simple, right? No – not really – as Kit does not want anything to do with it.

Nevertheless, Bowfinger has a three-phase plan that may work out for him. Phase one, involves him and his crew shooting Kit unawares whilst he is on the street. Phase two, involves him hiring a couple of unsuspecting actors to carry out this ruse, which include, starlet, Daisy (Heather Graham), thespian, Carol (Christine Baranski), and a couple of Mexican refugees too. And phase three of Bowfinger’s plan, involves him editing the shot scenes within the editing room, just so that the film appears more uniform.

However, after a couple of shots are slammed in the can, things do not seem to turn out too well for this filmic venture. For a start, this ruse causes Kit to seek sanctuary with a new age physiologist, called Terry Stricter (Terence Stamp). Whilst at the same time, Daisy uses her womanly ways to sleep her way through cast and crew, just so she can get a bigger part in this film.

Worst still, is as time passes, and more film has been shot, things appear to get a lot more dire for all involved. Bowfinger is forced to hire nerdish wannabe, Jiff (Eddie Murphy), because of Kit’s seclusion. And Daisy’s womanly ways leads her straight into the needy lap of an unsuspecting Bowfinger himself.

Well, that is why what next transpires’ all really kicks off when Kip is out in the open again! A family tie is relayed – film is spun – people run – ploys are exposed – and a retraction is juxtaposed.

Please note, coming soon to a theatre near you, ‘Fake Purse Ninja’.

Now I can see why this film, ‘Bowfinger’, did not get that much critical acclaim when it was first release - though, I do have to say, that it is still a pretty nice film to watch all the same.

Initially, I have to state for the record that I do hold the two main actors, Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy, in very high esteem - because in the past, both of these comedians have proven their worth on stage and on film. Moreover, I think that it is precisely for this exact same reason why people expected more from this film – because to utilise them in the way that it has, does seem a waste really.

Steve and Eddie in Bowfinger

To explain what I mean by this, please let me tell you the two key points where this film falls flat on its ass.

  • Point One: This is a noted Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy film. And even though they are both great in it when they act in the scenes together, this partnership is not allowed to develop within this storyline, and they do appear like two loose entities lost within a sea of other actors. Therefore, less Steve and Eddie together – equals’ less of a complete package. 
  • Point Two: I find that the whole premise of this film is a good one, because it encompasses such conceptions as ‘hard luck heroes’, ‘guerrilla filmmaking’, as well as the whole ‘rags to riches’ motif also. However, a large chuck of this movie relies heavily on ‘per-chance’, ‘repeated structure’, and an ‘easy going’ and ‘unrelatable attitude’ that is just groan worthy in places – thus making this film very strained to say the least.

The Cast of Bowfinger

Still, to juxtapose this viewpoint a tad, many things did make ‘Bowfinger’ a very pithy film to watch. For a start, Eddie Murphy is a blast in this film – because he can perform impression as well as he can act. Then, I would have to say that Steve Martin is not bad either – even if some of his scenes do come across as ‘over the top’ in places. Next, an honourable mention should go out to both Heather Graham and Christine Baranski – as these two fine actresses stamped out their respective roles very nicely all in all. After that, I did like the skit like nature of the ‘guerrilla movie’ scenes – and how they were funnier than I originally expected. And last but not least, even if they were not in this movie that much, both Robert Downey Jr. and Terence Stamp have that gravitas that makes them stand out from the crowd – and I would have liked to have seen more of them in this film.

Overall, ‘Bowfinger’ is a so-so film that had the promise to be a bling-bling film. It was well conceived, finely cast, but was let down greatly by a silly script.

Ha! Isn’t life ironic?


BOWFINGER BOWFINGER Reviewed by David Lee Andrews on January 02, 2012 Rating: 5
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