This file was generated 2003-08-26 05:15 GMT. This movie's information hasn't changed since 2003-08-26.

Scott Ventura >> Movie Commentary >> August 1999 >> Bowfinger


Movie Commentary by Scott Ventura


Scott's Rating:
4 / 5
Times Seen:
Viewing Date:
August 1999
IMDB Name:
Bowfinger (1999)
Frank Oz
MPAA Rating:
PG-13 for sex-related material and language.

The Waco Kid

Do you remember Dirty Rotten Scoundrels? That's one of my favorite comedies ever. Steve Martin was marvelous under the direction of Frank Oz. They got together again to do Bowfinger, and it's a winner! This is not the most fantastic Martin, but his role recalls Scoundrels, and that's good enough for me. The delivery of the lies he spins here is worthy of Freddy Benson. This is also Martin's second writing effort since the magical L.A. Story, but Bowfinger's better. Neither the plot nor the pacing ever drag here, and the lunacy is good to the last frame.

Hardest Working Man...

A quick look at Eddie Murphy's filmography shows Bowfinger as his fourth movie in which he plays multiple roles. If you count his aging in the recent Life as multiple roles, that makes one more. What's striking about this? He can create characters out of nowhere, and even though he's in the same body, he is one-hundred percent convincing as somebody else. Even though in my mind I knew mega-star Kit and errand boy Jiff were the same actor, I just didn't believe it. I was so sold on both characters that I never put them together when watching. I did notice the times they were careful to not put them in shot together, but the one time they are on screen together, I wasn't phased in the least. I bought it! Go Eddie!

Graham's Redemption

My opinion of Heather Graham had been slipping of late. I enjoyed her greatly in Boogie Nights as Rollergirl. Then I saw Lost in Space. Don't make me laugh. She was just as terrible as the rest of the movie! Then there was Austin Powers 2, where she fell flat again. I also saw Swingers somewhere in there, but that wasn't so exciting. Now, I know what you might be thinking: I only enjoy watching her in movies where she gets naked. Not true anymore! Graham's Daisy, the girl from Ohio who wants to be a star, is right on the money. I finally perceived some actual sexual energy being thrown around, unlike AP2, in which she utterly failed to look interested in Austin. I suppose I need to see Two Girls and a Guy to see what she can do with a more serious part.

Nitpicking Spoilers!

I know this is a minor point, but I don't think the movie shows us enough of Chubby Rain, the movie within the movie. The scenes shown to us on the big screen are the ones we saw being filmed. We know what happens in those because we saw them during production, so why not give us some more connecting material? I didn't feel like Martin fleshed out the script in his mind. Of course, Chubby Rain is pretty obviously a sci-fi/action summer blockbuster, so a rich, coherent plot is probably the opposite of what was called for.

There's only one disappointing joke in all of Bowfinger, primarily because it's delivered with no subtlety. Daisy walks in and introduces a "powerful lesbian" with whom she's holding hands. The joke would probably have been just fine without dragging out the word "lesbian" (not that there's anything wrong with that). Since Daisy has already shown a willingness to use sex to advance her career, simply having her hold hands with a woman and announcing that said woman is a powerful producer would've been more convincing to me. I get the joke, and I like it, but I don't think it was scripted well.

DVD Comments

The Bowfinger DVD is certainly rich with content. The extras menu alone spans two screens. There's a "Spotlight on Location" look behind the scenes that runs a little over twenty minutes. The name suggests to me that it will be mostly about Los Angeles, but it's actually supposed to capture where they shot the interview footage: on location. There are two deleted scenes, an extended opening with some great jokes and a tour through increasingly abstract dry cleaning emporia. They wouldn't've contributed much to the movie, but they're nice to have. There are also a raft of outtakes from a bunch of scenes, most of them amusing. In addition to Bowfinger's trailer, there are trailers for Liar Liar, EDtv, and The Nutty Professor. All are letterboxed. The disc includes biographies and filmographies for seven of the cast members and the director, as well as production notes. There are apparently also some DVD-ROM supplements, but I couldn't tell you what.

The disc comes with four audio options: English in Dolby Digital and DTS, French in Dolby Digital, and the director's commentary. The Frank Oz commentary track provides some wacky insights into the assembly of the film, with frequent references to how much material was cut to keep the pacing tight. There are also plenty of indications of how strangely out-of-order filming sometimes goes. Oddly, the audio can't be changed while watching the movie except through the disc's menus. As usual, it can be quite hilarious to listen to the French dub, even without any knowledge of French. Surprisingly verbose English captions are available, but to squeeze as much text onto the screen as they do, it was necessary to go with an unusually skinny typeface that isn't always as easy to distinguish from the film as I'd like.

See the IMDB information on Bowfinger's DVD or compare prices at DVD Price Search.

Other Opinions

Copyright 1999-2003 by Scott Ventura. All rights reserved.