Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Eddie Murphy takes second billing, which is surprising for someone who famously nurtures his ego, but then Steve Martin wrote the script and plays the lead, Bobby Bowfinger, a filmmaker who has yet to make a film. The plot has a simple ring to it and is all the better for that. Bowfinger's accountant and part-time receptionist (Adam Alexi-Malle) has written a trash B-picture screenplay, called Chubby Rain, about an alien invasion - the aliens arrive on Earth in raindrops, thus making them chubby, geddit?

Bowfinger thinks this is do-able. He needs a star, a camera, film stock, performers and the odd million bucks. Naturally, he doesn't possess any of these, although there is a failed actress, desperate for exposure (Christine Baranski), and a Tom Cruise wannabe (Kohl Sudduth) hanging around the place.

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He picks up an ingenue (Heather Graham) off the bus from Ohio and kidnaps some illegal Mexican immigrants for gopher duty. A friend, who is a mechanic, has access to a studio's equipment and, as for the star, Bowfinger has an ingenious plan, to use Kit Ramsey (Murphy), the highest paid action hero in Hollywood, without his knowledge. Ramsey is hyperactive and paranoid, constantly requiring the reassurance of his mind guru (Terence Stamp, in immediate need of an acting school refresher course), while his brother, Jiff (Murphy with funny teeth), is shy, sweet and slow. Bowfinger persuades the timid Jiff to take part in scenes they cannot fake, pretending to be Kit, without letting him in on the scam.

The humour is a mixture of The Three Stooges and Mel Brooks, more dependent on visual gags than one-liners. Released from his smart-ass Beverly Hills persona, Murphy excels, particularly as Jiff. Martin looks more relaxed and less artificially stimulated than usual and Graham, last seen overexciting Austin Powers, continues to flaunt her flirtatious talents.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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Comedy about a desperate B-movie producer.
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Director: Frank Oz

Writer: Steve Martin

Starring: Steve Martin, Eddie Murphy, Heather Graham, Christine Baranski, Jamie Kennedy, Adam Alexi-Malle, Kohl Sudduth, Barry Newman, Terence Stamp, Robert Downey Jr., Alejandro Patino

Year: 1999

Runtime: 97 minutes

BBFC: 12 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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