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 »
A highly successful advertising executive decides to put his job on hold after getting an update from his father that he and his wife are divorced and decides to extend his break after revealing that his father is a diabetic.
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>
John Cleese was offered the role of Peter Fallow but turned it down (in the original novel, Fallow is English). See more »
Before cuckold Arthur Ruskin dies in the restaurant, his cocktail glass alternates from between his hands to outside his hands. 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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Bonfires of the Vanities is a film drenched in flop sweat. I can recall no film that has tried so hard to be so unrelentingly outrageous, provocative and important, yet failed so consistently across the board. It is like a stand up comic who's not getting laughs, but can't leave the stage. The harder the film tries, the louder each attempt at a laugh results in a resounding thud. The desperation the film displays is so glaring it almost rouses pity for all those involved.
The film achieves laugh-out-loud status only twice. Once is in the sight of Geraldo Rivera playing an obnoxious, arrogant and amoral TV tabloid journalist -- which is funny only because he apparently doesn't realize he is playing himself. The other scene that deserves to be laughed at is the film's final "big moment," wherein the judge played by Morgan Freeman delivers the sanctimonious lecture about what morality is ("it's what your mama taught ya!"). The pomposity of the moment is insulting to the point of being absurd.
Yet, one must admit it is a noble effort. It does have a good, if poorly cast, band of actors, who try to make characters out of cardboard thin caricatures. The film looks professionally made and the little cinematic flourishes that director Brian DePalma just loves are apparent, if not particularly effective. But the film, which apparently wishes to be a commentary on modern morals and ethics, never arises above the level of cartoon. Satire requires style. Farce requires energy. Even sitcom requires timing. But the best Bonfires can muster is desperation. In the end, you don't want to laugh, you just want to turn away.
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