Hollywood, today: Bobby Bowfinger, a run-down actor-producer-director, is reading a script which a friend has written. Completely convinced of its quality, he decides to take a last shot at fame and fortune. But the script is not that easy to sell, and a famous producer promises him to do it, but there is one condition: Kit Ramsey, Hollywood's number one star, has to be in it. So, Bobby tries his luck with Kit - who says no - and then decides to shoot the film himself. Together with the cheapest team available in Southern California, an aspiring beauty from Ohio, a diva who is just a little over the hill, a key-holding gofer from a major studio and a goon hired away from burger-flipping, Bobby sets out to shoot the science-fiction-film starring Kit Ramsey - who does not even know he's being filmed. Written by
Julian Reischl <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"Bowfinger" is one of the funniest movies I have seen in years. It works because it allows the laughs to build from the way the characters play off each other's personalities, without becoming puppets of the script. It is for people who love the movies as well, because that's what it's really about; how the movie industry works on such unlikely coincidences, and how the truly desperate are sometimes successful against their own natures.
The movie is basically about a group of folks who want desperately to make a movie, to break into the big time. They are led by Bobby Bowfinger, of "Bowfinger International Productions", a hack film "studio" in a ramshackle office in an L.A. suburb. Bowfinger is the right man to head this team; he's unscrupulous, infinitely resourceful, and isn't daunted by the fact that his budget will come from the dollars he saved up each week since he was a kid, stashed in a box in his attic. He collects his film crew from illegal immigrants trying to cross the border.
His accountant has just written a script about aliens hiding in raindrops. Don't ask, just watch the movie. The movie is called "Chubby Rain". Bowfinger wants Hollywood's leading action star, Kit Ramsey, to play the lead. As Ramsey, Eddie Murphy turns out one of his best performances. Ramsey is wildly egotistical and emotionally unstable to a fault. He is a member of "Mind Head", one of those many Scientologist-like groups, where he goes often to discuss his many insecurities and paranoid fears, like that of, of course, aliens.
Naturally, Ramsey refuses to be in the picture. That doesn't stop Bowfinger. He comes up with a clever, if risky, idea: follow Ramsey around, shoot him surreptitiously from a distance, using his own actors to play their parts with him, without Ramsey's knowledge. This leads to many very funny scenes in which Ramsey comes to believe his paranoid fantasies about aliens are in fact real, while the actors in the movie praise Ramsey's "style".
Eventually, a stunt double is needed for certain scenes, and a Ramsey look alike, named Jiff, is brought on board. Jiff is an entirely unique character, played also by Murphy as a slow-witted innocent with a sheepish grin and a nasal voice. He is lovable and yet annoying at the same time, to Murphy's credit, and a great movie character.
I liked a lot of things about the movie, especially the eye it has for the way Hollywood works. I really enjoyed a scene early on where Bowfinger stages a phony call with a car phone in a restaurant to create an opportunity to pitch his script to a high-powered executive played by Robert Downey, Jr. Downey is surprised to see the cord dangling from Martin's phone; he may not take him seriously, but he's not likely to forget meeting him.
I also liked the way Ramsey complains to his agent about not having a catch phrase the way white action stars have. His agent points out a scene where he pushes a guy named Cliff off a cliff. "That's too cerebral for an audience," shouts Ramsey. "We're making a movie, not a film!" He points out that in the script he is reading, the letter "k" appears a number of times that is exactly divisible by three, so "KKK" appears "486 times!"
What is best about the movie is the way Bowfinger goes for broke, improvising all the way. He proceeds with a determination fueled by the insane notion that this scheme could actually work. You have to respect the chutzpah of someone who wants to succeed that badly, even if he bends a few rules along the way.
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