Eye For Film >> Movies >> 54 (1998) Film Review
Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray
The story of New York's most fashionable night spot during the raging, waning years of post Sixties, pre-Aids decadence is one of style over content. It is also the story of Steve Rubell, a poor kid from Brooklyn who became the disco king by flattering celebs and giving exclusivity sex appeal. Later, he went down for tax evasion after years of cooking the books.
Mark Christopher tells it through the eyes of a naive pretty boy from Jersey (Ryan Phillippe), who gets a job as a skivvy at the club. This kid is so green, he takes time being seduced by sex, drugs and fame. In reality, every gay guy in the building - the decor and entertainment is tres camp - would have been on their knees before him. Instead, he stumbles about open-mouthed, hoping to meet a soap star (Neve Campbell) he idolises.
It's not exactly Velvet Goldmine. Mike Myers plays Rubell as a permanently stoned latent homosexual, who loves to be centre of affection and treats his staff like children, to be scolded, or spoilt, depending upon his mood. It is by no means the trademark "Wayne's World" performance. This time, Myers is acting.
The film suffers from a surfeit of superficiality. The real history of the club must have been dirtier and raunchier than this. There is an innocence about Christopher's approach that seems misplaced. Why care about this Jersey boy? Why care about the 54? Both are puddle-deep.Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001