In 1927, a Russian filmmaker covertly shot footage of the then “America’s Sweetheart” Mary Pickford on her holiday, and subsequently fashioned an entire film around the footage creating the illusion she was starring in the film. This bizarre story of cinematic desperation forms the basis of the underrated classic Bowfinger, which makes its worldwide Blu-ray debut courtesy of Fabulous Films.
Steve Martin plays Bobby Bowfinger, a z-grade film producer looking to finally direct a film of his own. With a script penned by his accountant and $2,184 to his name, Bowfinger sets about creating his blockbuster ‘Chubby Rain’. After telling his gullible crew that Hollywood icon Kit Ramsey (Eddie Murphy) will be starring in the picture, he must find a way to shoot the film without Kit knowing anything about it…
Despite being 17 years old, Bowfinger is still a relevant and witty satire on the workings of Hollywood. Kit Ramsey’s comments about racism in the business are startlingly relevant today, the jokes about Heather Graham’s Daisy sleeping with anyone to get ahead in Hollywood still feel fresh, and the thinly veiled jabs at Scientology are still funny. The film is one of the best commentaries on filmmaking that you’ll see, not so much holding a mirror up to Hollywood as pointing at it and laughing. And if the last 17 years of Hollywood shows us anything, Bowfinger’s jokes are timeless.
Bowfinger is one of those films that just works. The narrative simplicity makes for a wonderfully easy viewing experience, while the majority of jokes still land – just don’t expect very much high-brow humour. But, as ever, with Martin and Murphy on board, silliness is endearing. Murphy shines in a dual role as Kit Ramsey and Jiff, a rather excitable Kit lookalike who fills in for shots of Kit that Bowfinger’s crew simply can’t get…Martin is somewhat more reserved than Murphy in a low-key performance as the desperate wannabe director while Stamp is delightful as the leader of MindHead, a clear jab at Scientology. Bowfinger is ahead of its time, and although not perfect, it is a hilarious highlight of both Murphy and Martin’s careers.
Bowfinger is a timeless comedy classic and one of the wittiest commentaries on Hollywood you’ll find.