The Imposters

The Imposters


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Stanley Tucci is an actor who became a writer/director with the wonderful Big Night four years ago. His second film is a Thirties farce that dares to go where others have floundered, onto an ocean liner. The result is a resounding three cheers.

Arthur (Tucci) and Maurice (Oliver Platt) are out-of-work actors, who practice their craft everywhere they go, improvising little scenes in public places. By chance, they are given tickets to Hamlet on Broadway, with the renowned English thespian, Jeremy Burtom (Alfred Molina), whom they deride as an arrogant, drunken lout.

After a post show scuffle with the star, they are chased through New York's back alleys before hiding in a crate on the docks, which, when they are asleep, is loaded onto the deck of a luxury liner.

Disguised as stewards, they attempt to keep away from Meistrich (Campbell Scott), the German head steward, and Burtom, who is also on board. They are befriended by Lily (Lili Taylor), the sweet-natured head stewardess, for whom Meistrich eats out his heart, and discover disquieting secrets about the other passengers. Everyone, it seems, in their own way, is an impostor.

Billy Connolly, as a professional tennis player with an unnatural enthusiasm for the male torso, is glorious. Steve Buscemi, as a suicidal crooner, is hilariously tragic. Dana Ivey, as a gold-digging widow with a melancholic daughter (Hope Davis) is hysterical. Tony Shalhoub, as the first mate with a fanatical (shhh!) political agenda, is, as always, mesmerising. Scott is disciplined, Molina supreme, Taylor delightful and the comic duo of Platt and Tucci unmatched since the golden years of Olly and Stan.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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Out-of-work actors pose as ship's stewards after accidentally stowing away.
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Director: Stanley Tucci

Writer: Stanley Tucci

Starring: Oliver Platt, Stanley Tucci, Walker Jones, Jessica Walling, David Lipman, E. Katherine Kerr, George Guidall, William Hill, Alfred Molina, Michael Emerson, Jack O'Connell

Year: 1998

Runtime: 100 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: UK


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