Jenny Nix, wife of eminent child psychologist Carter Nix, becomes increasingly concerned about her husband's seemingly obsessive concern over the upbringing of their daughter. Her own ... See full summary »
Brian De Palma
Steven Gold is a stand-up comedian who is flat broke and has recently dropped out of medical school. He and several others work regularly at the Gas Station, a New York comedy club. The ... See full summary »
Keith Gordon is a creative young man who films the oddball doings of his family and peers. "The Maestro" appears frequently to give him pointers on his techniques. It's almost a film about ... See full summary »
An American flyer who joined the RAF before his country was in the war is recovering from a leg injury in Jerusalem. Through an English friend he meets a quiet Jewish girl whose close-knit ... See full summary »
Lawrence is a rich kid with a bad accent and a large debt. After his father refuses to help him out, Lawrence escapes his angry debtors by jumping on a Peace Corp flight to Southeast Asia, ... See full summary »
Financial "Master of the Universe" Sherman McCoy sees his life unravel when his mistress Maria Ruskin hits a black boy with his car. When yellow journalist Peter Fallow enflames public opinion with a series of distorted tabloid articles on the accident, the case is seized upon by opportunists like Reverend Bacon and mayoral candidate D.A. Abe Weiss. Written by
Jon Reeves <email@example.com>
Alan Arkin was replaced by Morgan Freeman when it was decided to change the judge's ethnicity from Jewish to African-American in order to moderate criticism of the film's racial politics. See more »
While Reverend Bacon is accusing District Attorney Abe Weiss, the TV remote control that Weiss is using switches hands between shots. See more »
Our hero, Sherman McCoy, was about to make a simple phone call. But despite the existence of 11 telephones, and 7 different lines, in 14 rooms of his 16-million-plus dollar apartment, this was a phone call he could not make at home.
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The back cover for the DVD calls this movie "hilarious" and "the quintessential story of the go-for-it '80s." In truth, it is neither. The Bonfire of the Vanities is, however, funny in parts, poignant in parts, and entertaining throughout.
The protagonist is Sherman McCoy, a man whose one fatal flaw (an affair we know of from the beginning) leads to the downfall from his envious position as a "Master of the Universe." Tom Hanks gives an excellent performance and shows real emotion in bringing this highly plausible character to life. Unfortunately, his character is the only one with enough depth to be realistic. Even Morgan Freeman's Judge White, representing a refreshing dose of intelligence and honesty in the film, is perhaps too good to be believed. All of the other characters are mere caricatures, appearing too greedy, too pretentious, too self-absorbed, or too flighty to be believed. Bruce Willis might have made himself an exception as well, but I feel he simply lacked enough screen time to flesh out the different faces he had to show.
Nevertheless the story is very well told. If the other characters appear less than convincing, accept them as colorful background for McCoy, who is the real focus anyway. There are numerous laughs, and the other characters represent elements that are definitely present in society - even if not to the extent shown here. Wolfe's story is entertaining enough to make this movie worth seeing. And it might even make you think twice about the names you see next time you open a newspaper.
7 / 10 stars.
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