An ambitious television soap actress connives with her producer to scuttle the career of the show's long-time star, but nothing works as they plan.An ambitious television soap actress connives with her producer to scuttle the career of the show's long-time star, but nothing works as they plan.An ambitious television soap actress connives with her producer to scuttle the career of the show's long-time star, but nothing works as they plan.
So also Soapdish, a film I'd never heard about until a few nights ago when I caught it on late TV. I was a bit dubious at first simply because comedy is so difficult to do well, as you know.
However, I was pleasantly surprised and delighted to watch a very clever satire about daytime American TV. In fact, it's been a while since I laughed so heartily. So, if you like satire, I'd recommend you see it.
The main actors Sally Field, Kevin Kline, Robert Downey and Cathy Moriarty quite simply do an excellent job, revealing just how bitchy and shallow the business of acting is. As I watched it, I kept thinking to myself: just how much of this bitchiness carries over into real life? That is, if actors ever do have a real life? As you probably know, Peter Sellers, for example, was notorious for hiding his true persona behind a multitude of characters, so that nobody really knew the real person. So, as I watched Sally Field playing Celeste Talbot playing Maggie, I thought again about that earlier British film with Kay Kendall playing Laura playing a character in a TV sitcom opposite Peter Finch...
Is it any wonder that some actors have nervous breakdowns? And that feeling was crystallized when Celeste finally confronts her daughter (Lori, played by Elizabeth Shue) and, in an emotional moment, repeats the fictional lines she'd used, on a prior episode of her daytime soap, when confronting her fictional daughter in that show! Are you confused? Well, it's not all like that, but the dialog is stunning for originality, comedy, bitchiness, anger, depravity, duplicity, and even...love.
The story? Well, there are many stories in this film, all interwoven, and which all come together at the end (of course but not like a Robert Altman film, okay!), and not all of them are resolved finally. Life's not like that anyway, right? The pace is almost frenetic, and you really do have to watch and listen carefully to catch all the sight gags and subtle jokes. Spend the 97 minutes from your life and watch it; you won't regret the time usage.
The rest of the cast all perform well, although I've never taken much to Whoopi Goldberg. Perhaps the funniest exchanges are between Robert Downey and Cathy Moriarty and, for my money, the latter steals so many scenes from others, she gets my vote as the outstanding player. I kid you not, she gives the term bitch an entirely new face...
- Dec 28, 2006