The Impostors (1998)

R  |   |  Comedy  |  2 October 1998 (USA)
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In an attempt to resurrect the slapstick comedy of Laurel and Hardy or The Marx Brothers, Stanley Tucci and Oliver Platt team-up as two out-of-work actors who accidentally stowaway on a ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Walker Jones ...
Jessica Walling ...
David Lipman ...
E. Katherine Kerr ...
George Guidall ...
Ted Blumberg ...


In an attempt to resurrect the slapstick comedy of Laurel and Hardy or The Marx Brothers, Stanley Tucci and Oliver Platt team-up as two out-of-work actors who accidentally stowaway on a ship to hide from a drunken, belligerent lead actor who has sworn to kill them for belittling his talents. Of course, the lead actor end up on the ship as well. Also, a madman (Tony Shalhoub) plots the destruction of the ship and Steve Buscemi is a depressed, suicidal lounge singer named Happy Frank. Written by John Sacksteder <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Why be yourself when you can be somebody else? See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

2 October 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ship of Fools  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$308,767 (USA) (2 October 1998)


$2,197,921 (USA) (8 January 1999)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The incident in which Alfred Molina's character slaps Mike Malloy's with a sword during a performance is based on a real-life incident in which actor Nicol Williamson struck a fellow actor on the buttocks with a sword during a performance of "I Hate Hamlet." Williamson also exemplified his disdain for the play and his cast mates by breaking character and badmouthing the material on and off stage. See more »


The song, "Skokiaan" is used in the movie which takes place in the 1930s. However, "Skokiaan" was not released until 1947. See more »


[first lines]
Maurice: [as they discuss an act which they did] I'm sorry.
Arthur: You stole my death.
See more »

Crazy Credits

As the closing credits roll, the entire cast performs a line dance, starting on the ocean liner set and working their way out of the soundstage. See more »


Referenced in Dinner for Five: Episode #2.11 (2003) See more »


(When We Are Dancing) I Get Ideas
Written by Dorcas Cochran and Julio C. Sanders
Performed by Elizabeth Bracco and Lewis J. Stadlen
See more »

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User Reviews

Funny, but not for everyone. *** out of ****.
20 December 1999 | by (Michigan, USA) – See all my reviews

THE IMPOSTORS (1998) ***

Starring: Oliver Platt, Stanley Tucci, Lili Taylor, Steve Buscemi, Campbell Scott, Isabella Rossellini, Billy Connolly, and Hope Davis Written and directed by: Stanley Tucci Running Time: 102 minutes Rated R (for some language and sex-related material) By Blake French:

Certain movies are just not for all audiences. Stanley Tucci directs the new comedy, who is one of the creators of the 1995 drama-comedy "Big Night." The film is certainly not for everyone. It will satisfy fans of screwball comedies, and perhaps fans of someone in the cast-they may enjoy it. However, I only liked "The Impostors" because of the laughs it brought along with its well-written script. It is not your typical comedy. Now, I'm not saying that this movie is great. I am saying, however, that this movie satisfied me to the point of a recommendation.

"The Impostors" opens with a hilarious sequence in which the two main stars, Tucci and Platt, play two out of work actors, Maurice & Arthur, who play on a silent stage who have serious and comical problems with women, coffee, and each other.

Maurice & Arthur get in to trouble and escape from the police in a boarding box. However, while they were sleeping, the box was loaded onto a ship carrying an assortment of bizarre passengers that provoke even more laughs. They include a Nazi steward with tight lips, Lily, the social director who helps Maurice & Arthur, a First Mate who is a mad bomber, a tennis pro who is aggressively gay, an ex-queen in despair entertainer who wants to commit suicide, and many more.

The films casting was more to my liking than any other movie I have seen this year. The characters fit the actors so perfectly and realistically that I could have been fooled that these people were actually victims of a secret tapping of "Candid Camera." Each of them bring a story to themselves outside the plot. No one character is at the mercy of the script.

As for the script itself, it kept its cool even as it organized its own extremely complicated chaos. There are many laughs that evolve from hyperactive activity from the assortment of characters because there is such a variety, everything feels so fresh in this movie.

"The Impostors" is an opinion based movie. Certain film's don't carry massive plot holes, obvious flaws, or any other structural or character problem, but they don't necessarily bring anything overwhelmingly powerful to the big screen either. "The Impostors" is this kind of comedy. Whether you find it to your liking or not will totally depend on your taste in comic material in film. I was amused by the picture. Many filmgoers will differ on my opinion though. The individual I screened the film longed for its conclusion and declared this was the worst movie she had seen in her life. I recommend the film, but take into account your personal feelings on my review before you make a judgment call. "The Impostors" might make you laugh uncontrollably, but it also may cause you to turn your head in pitiful despise.

Brought to you by Fox Searchlight Pictures.

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