The Impostors (1998) Poster

(1998)

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10/10
A very positive response to a rare viewing experience
-20823 January 2000
Rented THE IMPOSTORS for the first time on Friday and by the end of the weekend had watched it 4 times - and yes, I do have a life. Blithe is the only word I can use to describe the experience of watching this video. In a world of multi-screen theaters that show a variation of 3 basic movies - mindless action, gross-out comedy, or big-screen version of the issue of the week - THE IMPOSTERS was a homage to an earlier genre - the silly, almost plotless comedies of Laura & Hardy. Homage - not remake - an important difference. This was definitely a 1990's movie - more quirky than slapstick, with slick production values. A series of vingettes, tied together to make a whole, yet each scene easily stands on its own as a comic gem - the initial credits being my personal favorite. One final word - all this and a great cast! and score. This movie was a rare 10.
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10/10
Brilliant, original, funny, but not for everyone
Arnold Reinhold13 February 2000
I loved this movie, yet I can see why others hated it. This is not the comic food we have grown up on. It is a different cuisine that tastes strange at first, but if given a chance, rewards with fresh, delicious sensations at every bite.

Early in this movie our actor heros take turns mugging an emotion on command. I think this moment is the key to understanding the entire film. Almost every scene is painted by facial expressions and body language. The editing lingers to give us time to enjoy each portrait, then cuts a bit further along in the story than we are used to. This unfamiliar timing gives the strong cast a chance to act rather than react. The story is about actors, but the movie is a tribute to comedic acting.

If you want a formula comedy, rent something else. If you want movie that is funny, warm, original, and brilliant and are willing to give its different pace a chance, put this film at the top of your list and plan to view it twice.
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8/10
Pure, tongue-in-cheek, humor from start to finish.
Linda (lindaz)11 October 2011
Pure, tongue-in-cheek, humor from start to finish.

A near perfect film. Stanley Tucci and Oliver Platt make a great duo in this comedy about two starving actors.

Desperate for food, they decide to con a pastry chef out of some of his pastry. As previously planned, Platt comes to the pastry chef's "rescue", but instead of getting pastry, he gets two tickets to see hack stage actor, Jeremy Burtom excellently played by Alfred Molina.

Through a series of incidents, Burtom threatens the boys with imprisonment if he catches them, The two end up accidentally stowing away on a cruise ship and that's when everything gets complicated.

An excellent cast was assembled for this superbly funny script. Watch for Campbell Scott, son of George C. Scott. His portrayal of a Nazi-like ship steward is hilarious.

My hat goes off to Stanley Tucci for doing an excellent job writing and directing this film! I only hope more people can see this jewel.
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9/10
Rib-ticklingly hilarious!!!
BadWebDiver15 August 2003
This is a top-notch comedy at the most audacious level. I once heard someone say that door-slamming farcical comedy never works on film; and I think this is one of the movies that proves them wrong. It reminded me of the brilliant stage farce "Noises Off" (which was also turned into a movie with fairly successful results).

I thought the opening title gags were brilliant, especially Oliver Platt. I loved Billy Connolly as a camp tennis player and Allison Janney as a gangster's moll. I also thought Alfred Molina, Tony Shalhoub, Campbell Scott, Steve Buscemi and Matt McGrath were brilliant as well. The pastry shop scene and Tucci crying poor were also outstanding highlights.

My only slight criticism with this film is that the pacing seemed a tiny bit slow at times, but otherwise this is an exceptional storyline. This is definitely the sort of movie I'd like to see a lot more of. It also proves that they CAN make 'em like they used to.
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10/10
Woody Allen Meets The Marx Brothers With BIG NIGHT Cast!
I'm afraid to say too much about director/writer/co-star Stanley Tucci's follow-up to BIG NIGHT because I don't want to spoil any of its sublimely insane surprises! This rollicking screwball comedy follows two dedicated but starving actor pals (Tucci and Oliver Platt) on their increasingly nutty adventures in 1930s NYC and aboard an ocean liner. The all-star indie film cast includes many of Tucci's co-stars from BIG NIGHT (including BN co-director Campbell Scott as the cruise's officious German director), many of them in change-of-pace roles. For example, it was a delight to see Lili Taylor get to exercise her flair for comedy as the pretty, plucky activities director being romantically pursued by both Scott and Matt McGrath. Although many have compared THE IMPOSTORS to Laurel and Hardy, I think its sophisticated air and sly playfulness make it more like Woody Allen meets The Marx Brothers. If you want to be swept away into a sea of laughter, THE IMPOSTORS is well worth seeking out at the local video shoppe!
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Fresh and witty
Clever Jones29 March 2000
Stanley Tucci really knows what he's doing. This film, which for some odd reason wasn't really very well received. This movie is funny and smart and very easy to like.

But the acting isn't just the reason that this film is one of my personal favorites, it's also because of the superb script. It's brilliantly paced and full of laughter and intrigue.

Tucci's film deserves a look, but really, watch the film as a comedy, don't take it too seriously.

3.5/4
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8/10
Love this movie!
Kimberley (kimmb)20 August 2002
I rented this knowing nothing about it (not much of this kind of thing makes it to Kentucky). I just really like Oliver Platt. So I rented it one night in college, having nothing better to do...

And I loved it. It's really not like any movie I've ever seen. I'm not really a connoisseur of Laurel and Hardy or anyone like that--I'm just your average college kid, I guess. I don't like most American comedy, though, because it's a little too dependent on violence and switching one's brain off. But this movie was so different and so funny! It was silly, sure, but it was smart and really amusing. I love Steve Buscemi in everything he's in, and he was just TOO funny here. I was rolling in the floor.

And Campbell Scott was just great, I loved how he kept popping up at the most inopportune times. But my favorite part, I think, was that little bit with the Hamlet play. I've seen productions like this and known actors like that and it was just PERFECT! The archetypical actor who can't fit his inflated head through the backstage door. It was truly hilarious all the way through, and I don't know anything about what it could be based on. I just liked it a lot. But it's not your average American comedy, and it might inspire a love/hate response in many viewers. I think it's probably an acquired taste.
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8/10
A very funny film that reflects the golden age of Hollywood
v-square21 April 2002
A very amusing film. It has elements of the Marx bros, Laurel and Hardy, Grand Hotel and Some Like It Hot. Really an homage to the screwball comedy films of the 30's that were chock full of great character actors. The plot is skimpy at best but half the fun is guessing the previous credits for the great cast. Look for an un-credited performance by Woody Allen as a distracted Broadway director.
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7/10
Funny, but not for everyone. *** out of ****.
Movie-1220 December 1999
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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10/10
Wrestling, naked, on the steps of the Acropolis!
gunga-229 June 1999
My God! That line alone was enough to make me soil my pants. One of the best farces I have ever seen with characters to make one's imagination drool. I want to keep Stanley Tucci's brain in a jar and show it off as a prized possession to all my friends. Better yet....invite them to watch the film.
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7/10
Lovely Beckettian update of 'Some Like It Hot' (spoilers)
Alice Liddel25 July 2000
Warning: Spoilers
I can see why a lot of people have been irritated by this tribute to 'Some Like It Hot'. Its theatrical hammery can be absurdly precious, its attempts at slapstick bungled, its comic situations tortuously contrived. The film proclaims itself as a farce, and yet the mechanics aren't tight enough (a hint of studio interference?); too many characters and situations are introduced at convenient moments to sustain farce's exquisite suspense, surprise and inevitability. An air of complacent superiority breezes through the whole thing.

I loved it. The film it most reminded me of, despite its echoes of Beckett, silent comedy and 'Bullets over Broadway', was 'Topsy-Turvy'. There is the same fruity dialogue and opportunity for ostentatious thesping. The theatrical milieu allows for a suspension of realism - like Leigh's film, there is no attempt to faithfully recreate the period; rather 'The Impostors' is like a play of the period, filmed against a flat background with appropriate signifiers (clothes, music etc.). This idea that the narrative is not 'real' (ie as a narrative) is suggested by the closing revelation of the movie set, removing a plot full of people playing other people to another level.

Of course, this kind of closing self-reflexivity, this shattering of illusions, is pure Fellini, and the ship setting reminds us surely of 'Ship Of Fools', that ironically melancholy portrait of a doomed society. 'Impostors', despite the final burst of the carnivalesque, is too controlled to be a Felliniesque extravaganza; too in thrall to the idea of plot, and the way plot reflects the metaphysics of action; but there is a variety of character; an impulse towards mocking melodrama and the picaresque; a feel for the grotesque and chaotic, a sheer love of role-playing and transformation, that Il Maestro would possibly have enjoyed.

It would be reading too much into 'Impostors' to see the ship and its passengers, travelling from Prohibition America to Paris as in any way allegorical - the characters and situations are pure stage types - the impoverished gold-digging mother, the suicidal divorcee, the deposed Ruritanian queen, the Teutonic manager, the kamikaze revolutionary, the lovesick captain. I don't think they are used to explore a particular political viewpoint or historical interpretation - rather, they allow for a wide-ranging analysis of the conflict between acting and role.

The film's impulse is to mock even it's own plot, so that resolution is hardly a morally satisfactory dividing of the spoils. The impostors are shown to reveal the wider imposture going on in all levels of society - acting can both expose the fraudulence and help the miserable and betrayed. They move from being outsiders desperate for recognition from society to critics and exposers of society - typically, they save it and are absorbed by it. The film begins with them disrupting reality with their false cafe melodramatics; it ends with them saving marriages, foiling revolution. Acting, once it's recognised as acting, is neutered.

There are three great pleasures in 'Impostors'. First is the acting. Stanley Tucci and Oliver Platt are an adorable couple, part Vladimir and Estragon, part Laurel and Hardy (and Beckett was profoundly influenced by silent comedy) - their attempts at acting only further revealing their characters. The post-theory sexualising of the likes of Laurel and Hardy is intimated here - the impostors share a bedroom; they are constantly confronted with aggressive male sexuality; they are never considered as a heterosexual threat - but, appropriately to the period, this is never brought to the surface.

They have some great set-pieces, particularly in the first half (the cakeshop; the denunciation of Jeremy in the pub); their wordy dialogue is deliciously appropriate; their mixture of deadpan and ham a treat. Not all of the cameos come off, but Campbell Scott's absurd manager and Alfred Molina's blustery bad actor are a hoot (is the Hamlet he plays a defining spirit of the film, the anguish over whether to act and be appropriated or interpret and remain free (and hungry)?).

Secondly, the filming. Although most of 'Impostors' is pure farce (and there is far too little of THAT in the cinema nowadays), there is nothing stagy about it. The prologue is shot as delightful silent slapstick, and the smooth shooting is often broken by moments of disruptive handheld immediacy which provide some lovely epiphanies. The repetition of key scenes and moments (eg all the characters staring into the round, porthole -like mirrors) are expertly done.

Best of all is the insanely inventive score, beautifully appropriate to the period, a pastiche of salon, jazz and tango that is witty but also emotionally revealing, creating a real sense of romance and nostalgia, while silly post-modern things are going on on screen.
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Cute enough. A diversion.
lore-56 July 1999
I agree with the comparisons of Platt and Tucci to Laurel and Hardy. Their faces and mannerisms and teamwork are all reminiscent of the old comedy teams. The film is decent, good enough, but not something I'd want to see again. It reminds me of those scraps of piecrust that are left over after your mom made a pie. She'd cut them into strips and sprinkle them with cinnamon sugar and bake them. Those sweet scraps relate to the pie in the same way that "The Imposters" relates to "Big Night." You get the feeling that this gang of actors wanted to do something else together, something fun, and this film is the result.
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Delightful ship of fools
mermatt18 October 1998
The working title SHIP OF FOOLS is appropriate. Never since the Marx Brothers took on the world, opera, and a ship of pretentious windbags has there been such a delightful comedy. It's too bad the film is being shown only in art houses. It is a gem of a comedy.
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very labored: rent any Laurel and Hardy feature instead!
Hugh-1010 October 1998
well.....almost any.....avoid anything of the Boys after 1946. This was well intentioned but just DID NOT work for me....just proving how very much talent it takes to do this well. I love Tucci and Platt and I really wanted to like this...but.....

Honestly rent some Laurel and Hardy features or two reelers..you'll be glad you did.
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Nice idea; never gelled
Lanwench30 January 2000
I must confess at the start that I turned off my VCR halfway through "The Imposters" - it was too painful to continue. I can at least review the beginning of this movie...

Being a devoted Marx Brothers fan, I truly wanted to like the film. It's got a good director and a splendid cast, but these were not enough to save it. It needs MUCH tighter direction and editing - the timing seems to be off in nearly all the gags and scenes go on too long. I also doubted the wisdom of including all the profanity ... it didn't fit. From the first scene at the park cafe, the rhythm was just off, off off. The actors are clearly doing their best (Campbell Scott was great), but it's not enough.

Spend your money on "Night At the Opera" instead. Perhaps someday someone will succeed in revitalizing the screwball comedy, but this, unfortunately, isn't it. Sorry, Stanley.
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Pretty empty, not to mention rather tiresome.
MovieAlien17 July 1999
"The Impostors" is a film which I compare metaphorically to stale bread: It might still be edible, but there's nothing much to do with it even if you found a way to alter it. It's bland, and trying to nibble at the first amount becomes a burden to finish the rest.

Stanley Tucci tried (and tried a little too hard) at recreating the era of 1930s/40s slapstick comedy, about a couple of unemployed losers who want to become actors eventhough no one will hire them. They're accused of assaulting a snobbish Ham actor, and after finding a place to hide they discover they're actually on a ship with him. At this point the blandness comes to a halt, and resumes to inanity and effortless skits. It was as if Tucci saw a segment of "The Little Rascals" or "The Three Stooges" one day and said, "Hey, people know who I am, let me make my vision of this and I'm sure everyone will love it for what it is, regardless of how it will turn out."

I guess I'm not everyone.

Even the Woody Allen cameo wasn't convincing. "The Impostors" is not a good movie.
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8/10
Gentle, Joyful Froth
whindbagg5 October 2009
This movie features Arthur, played by Stanley Tucci, and Maurice, played by Oliver Platt, as starving and out of work stage actors who have been involved in a minor altercation in a bar with famed and besotted Shakespearean actor Sir Jeremy Bertrom (a thinly veiled reference to Richard Burton), played by Alfred Molina. Bertrom immediately inflates the episode as an attempt on his life, initiating a chase by the authorities, the unfortunate pair ultimately hiding in a crate on a dock. They fall asleep, finding the next morning that they have been loaded aboard a luxury liner, making them inadvertent stowaways. As luck, and admittedly ham-handed writing would have it, Bertrom has booked passage on the same ship, where he hopes that "The salt air will heal my wounds, and the motion of the cool, green sea will soothe my tortured soul."

Arthur and Maurice's presence on the ship is soon found out, and with the help of sympathetic cruise director Lily, played by Lili Taylor, disguise themselves as stewards and manage through luck and mayhem to stay just ahead of Bertrom, Meistrich, the severely Prussian head steward, hysterically played by Campbell Scott, and the gentle, mild mannered Marco who is charged by Meistrich to apprehend the stowaways. In the process, the duo learn that the first mate, played by Tony Shalhoub, is in fact a terrorist cum freedom fighter of an obscure and unnamed country who plans to blow up the ship, and that an American couple, Johnny and Maxine, thieves masquerading as Parisians, are planning to seduce and murder a wealthy widow and an Arab Sheik, respectively.

Set sometime in the 1930's, the tone feels decidedly European, with European sensibilities. There is elegance here, within the confines of a limited budget. There are tuxes and flower arrangements galore, but this ain't Titanic. That said, the production design pokes fun at itself in that the bulk of the movie is shot on a static ship-board set that does not resort to the use of fancy lighting, gimbals, or even water, and in place of a green screen uses a cheap, "to hell with 'em if they can't take a joke" painted backdrop.

The pace is quick and frenetic, energized by the extensive use of hand-held camera work. The acting, for its part, is poured not into characters per se but joyfully and unabashedly into cartoon-like characterizations. And this is not the hallmark of bad acting as some would suggest, for the writing allows the actors free rein to deliver in places great monologues, in the way jazz artists are given, each in turn, an opportunity to display their virtuosity in their solo performances. I would suggest that it takes great skill to flesh out such vivid and flamboyant personages.

This movie would best be described as a gag movie, in that it has the appearance of a string of set-piece gags that are carefully set up and sprung on the viewer. And, if the art of humor lies with the delivery, than the delivery here is top-notch, with great lines joyfully delivered by over-the-top characters. It should be noted that in the hands of lesser talent, lines such as: Meistrich: "The danger of the chase has made you perspire. It has made me also…moist." Maxine: "What are we gonna do with all that cash, Johnny?" Johnny: "What do you think, baby?" Maxine: "Take it on the lam and scram to some far-off land and lead a life of bliss, Johnny?" Would fall flat and strike the ear as crushingly hokey. It takes real chops to make material like this work.

And the delivery isn't made up just in the acting. The camera has an active part in selling the lines, also. To illustrate, Marco and Lili are romantically involved, but Meistrich, who is infatuated with Lili, repeatedly tries to insinuate himself in every private moment the couple manages together, the camera drawing away abruptly and without warning at such times from an intimate two shot to a three shot, revealing the intruder Meistrich. The music helps establish the mindset in the viewer also, alternating between delightfully continental Tango music to breezy and raucous Dixieland.

And though this is most assuredly a gag movie, the bits are not just strewn helter-skelter against a vapid storyline. All the jokes become glittering sequins on a lovingly woven and coherent fabric of plot. It hangs together very nicely, thank you. However, it should be noted that not all the gags work, however. The sheer volume of them and the variability of taste in movie-goers would decree that at least some fall flat, and for this reviewer that is the case, but many more are delightful, and more than make up for the klunkers.

So why didn't this do better at the box office? And why does it have a ranking of 6.0 on IMDb? It isn't for the craftsmanship; technically, the directing is first-rate, the writing also, the acting top-notch, and the soundtrack is superb. So the problem is that of taste. For any one individual, that person's taste will decree that they are either going to like this movie or they won't. I know folks who, to their credit, have tried to watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail several times and still can't see the funny in it that tickles others.

For myself, this one is a gentle, joyful froth that does not concern itself with heady examinations of the human condition or the subconscious. Rather, it is cinematic playfulness, perfect for distracting me at least temporarily from the burden of seriousness that life imposes.
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3/10
Disappointing
zmaturin24 April 2000
There's a scene in this movie where the beloved but down-on-his-luck singer Happy Franks takes the stage and tells his band leader to play a tender, weepy ballad for his opening number. "Isn't that a little slow?" the band leader asks.

That scene pretty much sums up this movie: Great performers get on screen and you expect a fast-paced, fun time, but instead get a slow, slow movie.

Who to blame? I'm going to have to go with Stanley Tucci. I like Stanley Tucci, but I don't think he's very funny. He plays half of the the film's title duo, and he's teamed with the hilarious Oliver Platt. Platt is great, likable, and funny. Tucci is not. His character has no sense of comic timing, and apparently neither does Tucci, as he wrote and directed this movie. It doesn't have the right pace for a comedy- it takes about half an hour to get them to the boat and have the plot start, and the things that happen before that aren't very interesting (save for a hilarious cameo by the great Woody Allen).

Once they get to the boat and the story begins, the movie picks up considerably. The cast in this movie is fantastic- Steve Buscemi, Billy Connoly, Tony Shalhoub, Lili Taylor, Alfred Molina, Dana Ivey, Hope Davis, Allison Janey, Isabella Rosselini- even the usually stodgy Campbell Scott is great in this. They are all fun to watch, even if they're not doing anything terribly exciting.

I want to like this movie, I do, but it's like watching an improvisational comedy class that goes nowhere. All the scenes that would be great in a "Deleted scenes" section on a DVD were never deleted. It's best when it's madcap and crazy like a Marx Brothers movie, but it's just not funny enough to be recommended.
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5/10
Scrappy, eager-to-please comedy is all over the place...
moonspinner5513 August 2006
Stanley Tucci wrote, co-produced, directed and stars in this happy, but only moderately successful comedy about two out-of-work actors--so unemployed they are reduced to staging wild scenes in restaurants just for the food--who get on the wrong side of a drunken stage-star and end up as stowaways on a cruise ship. Very broad, occasionally funny, but the humor and the R-rated language don't really match up with the 1940s scenario (the vulgarity feels forced and heavy-handed). Tucci is a wonderful ham actor, and he's well-matched with Oliver Platt, but his direction is shaky and some of his jokes are mean-spirited. For those who stick with it, the finale is admittedly terrific. ** from ****
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9/10
One of the best!
roxy10_girl30 June 2005
I thought that the movie was fantastic . It had a kinky sense of humor not adored by all , but i found it rather enjoyable.The Characters all have unique personalities that are very lovable.The plot is one that takes a great turn and keeps you wondering what on earth could possibly happen next.The little captions between scenes keep it cute , and the plot will have you glued to the screen, one moment of the story that is missed can leave you a bit confused for the rest of the movie. I saw this movie on the WB17 movie lineup and was surprised that such a great movie was on daytime T.V.Its one of those movies that is great throughout the entire movie , it keeps you laughing till the ending scene (even the credits are great!)
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I wanted to like it, but...
Greg Couture22 September 2004
This one was shown tonight on the Independent Film Channel and, unfortunately, I tuned in a little late after the opening scenes which, by common consensus, are considerably better than what follows.

The cast works hard, the film doesn't look bad (although some of the art direction seems a little threadbare), the music score was obviously a bow to Woody Allen, who makes a brief uncredited appearance, but, oh my! how things went downhill fast.

I love good slapstick, lots of slamming doors and such, but this effort just wasn't up to its aspirations. Methinks that Stanley Tucci should have asked for some help with the script and let someone else, with a surer touch, take over the directorial reins.

For me, a disappointment, though not without a few smiles here and there, as it bungled its way to that silly conclusion, with the entire cast doing a jig, exiting the set, past the film crew, on their way out onto the studio's street.
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7/10
Not Always So Funny...
teegz10 January 2001
The Impostors is a film made purely for comedy's sake. The characters and plot both exist for one reason: to make the audience laugh. Films like The Naked Gun and Austin Powers were of this genre, and worked for one reason: they delivered the laughs. Plot development and sophisticated dialogue play no part in this type of comedy, so if the film isn't funny, there is nothing to fall back on. In this way, a movie like The Impostors must be funny throughout in order to distract the viewer from the silliness of the plot and characters.

The Impostors both fails and succeeds in this way; some parts are as hilarious as they are meant to be, while other parts leave the audience shifting in their seats. The unfunny scenes seem to carry on and on, giving the viewer time notice just how silly the film really is. This turns out to be one of the movies biggest problems.

Other films of this nature combat this problem by firing the jokes off one after another, so that if one joke bombs there is another to take its place. The Impostors needed to utilize this technique more. This is not to say that the film was a dud. Many scenes and characters are very funny, but the bad ones tended to be very noticeable.

The Impostors revolves around Maurice and Arthur, two veteran actors in Depression-era New York, trying to earn a living through acting. Parts are scarce though, and the two spend their days honing their skills by acting out 'scenes' with made up characters on the unsuspecting public. After a wild chain of events, Maurice and Arthur end up as hunted stowaways on an ocean liner headed to Paris, where they become entangled in the lives of the other quirky passengers.

The Impostors has the feel of a silent movie; every gesture, facial expression, and action seems to be exaggerated for comedic effect. Many of the scenes would be funny even without the dialogue. Slapstick humour runs throughout the movie creating that silent movie feel. The Impostors plays out like Saturday Night Live sketches pieced together to form a plot. This method has funny results, but when one 'sketch' fails the whole movie suffers.

Maurice and Arthur are played wonderfully by Oliver Platt and Stanley Tucci, respectively. The two characters weasel their way into the hearts of the viewers from the very beginning, just as characters in a good buddy movie should. Platt and Tucci's relationship is based on a Laurel and Hardy model, or for a modern reference, David Spade and Chris Farley. There are other great performances from characters on the ship. The Impostors has a good cast with Woody Allen, Steve Buscemi, Lili Taylor, and Isabella Rossellini in small, one dimensional roles. The funniest performance by far is Campbell Scott in his role as Meistrich, the German ship director. Meistrich comes complete with a monocle, a scar, a thick German accent and the attitude of World War Two General. When he is not hunting down the stowaways (Maurice and Arthur) his is trying to win over Lili Taylor's character, Lilly, with hilarious results.

The Impostors concludes with the cast suddenly dancing joyously off the set and around the studio where the filming took place. Obviously the actors enjoyed making the movie; the performances during the film and the dancing afterward attest to this. In fact, it seems they had more fun making the movie than audiences will have watching it. The Impostors makes a good effort, but in the end it isn't quite funny enough to pull the whole thing off.
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7/10
very funny throwback to the screwball comedies of the 1930s
blanche-213 February 2017
As others have pointed out, The Imposters is a comedy, but it's not a comedy in the "A Fish Called Wanda" or "Dumb and Dumber" vein. It's a sophisticated, frothy comedy that hearkens back to the days of "Bringing Up Baby" or "Merrily We Live." So if you enjoyed that type of comedy, this is for you.

Oliver Platt and Stanley Tucci (who wrote, directed, and produced) play two out of work actors in the 1930s. When they try to make a bakery owner angry enough to throw pastries at them, they fail, and instead are given two tickets to a bad actor's (Alfred Molina) Hamlet. Their insults of him in a bar are enough to send them hiding in a boarding box. They fall asleep and when they open the box, they find they're on a steamship headed for Paris.

As stowaways, the enlist the help of one of the workers (Lily Taylor) who has a pseudo-Nazi (Campbell Scott) chasing her around, so they have to be careful. Hiding in different rooms, they encounter two murderers (Allison Janey and Richard Jenkins), who plan on killing an old woman for her money. She is on the ship hoping her miserable daughter can find a man. Her daughter does - a suicidal singer named Happy Franks (Steve Buscemi).

There is also a Russian bomber (Tony Shalhoub) disguised as a first mate, a princess (Isabella Rosselini) who has been dethroned, a sheik, and a Greco- Roman wrestler. And let's not forget that Hamlet himself is in need of a sea voyage to recover from his bad performances.

Some real laugh-out-loud moments in this film, with delightful performances from Tucci, Platt, Shalhoub, and Buscemi especially.

If you like the old comedies, check this one out.
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9/10
I love this movie.
dannikins20 December 2011
This movie is a wonderful inside joke about the art of acting. The characters are wonderfully over the top and hilariously brought to life by a funny script and fabulous cast, who obviously had a great time making this movie. Who wouldn't? Every time I see it, and I see it often, it makes me smile. Another reviewer aptly observed that if you are expecting the typical formulaic Hollywood "comedy", this ain't the picture for you. So true. This is closer to pure French Farce. Written and directed with much love for, and a great sense of humor about everything associated with theater and acting. Bravo Mr. Tucci.I know it didn't make a lot of money, but I hope you write and direct more. You are wasted in pictures like "Burlesque".
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8/10
Wonderful
alexakis399 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
When I first watched this I didn't really grab my attention, but then I couldn't stop thinking about it. Within three about I went from thinking is was so-so, to loving it. I guess I can understand why some people don't like it, as I didn't at first. I love the humor in it. I especially love the songs Steve Buscemi and Hope Davis sing. Along with those two songs the soundtrack to this movie is great. I say, give it a chance and watch it twice. It also stars the wonderful Lili Taylor, Elizabeth Bracco and Tony Shalhoub. One of my favorite parts was the dancing at the end to Skokiaan by Louis Armstrong. I just really liked it.
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