August 23, 1999 -- "Bowfinger" is the funniest film I have seen since "There's Something About Mary," the main difference between the two is you don't have to feel ashamed of yourself for laughing at it.
"Bowfinger" uses physical comedy as well as hip inside Hollywood jokes and parodies. The story has a desperate filmmaker, Bobby Bowfinger (Steve Martin) who finally gets his hands on a good script, but he can't get the film deal unless he signs Kit Ramsey (Eddie Murphy) the hottest action star in Hollywood. Naturally, Ramsey won't agree, so Bowfinger comes up with a mad scheme to have Ramsey star in a film he doesn't know is being made.
Using borrowed or stolen equipment, Bowfinger starts filming on a budget that makes "The Blair Witch Project," look like a big budget extravaganza. People start approaching the increasingly bewildered Kit Ramsey on the street, in his car, at restaurants, spouting dialogue from the film. Ramsey becomes increasingly paranoid.
Ramsey turns to his new age guru, Terry Stricter (veteran actor Terence Stamp) to try to calm him down. After a time, Stricter agrees to hide Ramsey away so he can recuperate. When Ramsey disappears, Bowfinger is forced to find a substitute. He finds Jeff (also played by Murphy), a good look alike for Ramsey.
Bowfinger comes up with increasingly inspired ways of forcing the unwilling Kit Ramsey to appear in his film. Those scenes are hilarious, as are the increasing desperate measures Bowfinger takes to keep his house of cards from falling down.
Murphy and Martin are great in the film, as are the rest of Bowfinger's troupe, Daisy, who turns out not to be the country bumpkin she pretends to be, is played by Heather Graham who was Rollergirl in "Boogie Nights" and appeared in "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me"). Bowfinger's multi-talented bookkeeper, Afrim (Adam Alexi-Malle "The Peacemaker"). Bowfinger's talented gofers are well played: Dave (Jamie Kennedy of "Scream," "Scream II") and Slater (Kohl Sudduth of "Rounders"). Christine Baranski of "Bulworth" turns in a fine performance as aging film star Carol, another one of Bowfinger's loyal troupe.
There are laughs and insights from beginning to end in this film. It is a send-up of Hollywood and its vanity and its shallowness, but it also has a soft spot in its heart for those people, like Ed Wood, who just love to make movies, whether they are talented or not. This film rates a B+.
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