Bowfinger (1999)

Giving Hollywood the Bowfinger

Bobby Bowfinger (Steve Martin) is an aspiring film maker, who has struggled for years to make it in Hollywood, resulting to no real success. Bobby has a script and a cast and crew of friends who are ready to go to work, so takes his script to a movie executive (Robert Downey Jr), who agrees to make the movie, provided that Bowfinger can secure action movie star Kit Ramsey (Eddie Murphy) to star in it. When Kit refuses to star in the movie, Bobby doesn't have the heart to tell his friends that Ramsey said No to the movie, so lies to them, and with the help of a young associate named Dave, they come up with a plan to follow Kit and film the movie around him without him knowing about it, whilst letting everyone else believe that Kit is method acting.

Eddie Murphy plays more than one role in this film, which thankfully doesn't include Murphy in a fat suit, but does make you yearn for the days Murphy didn't act in bottom of the barrel family films. As Kit, Murphy utilizes the fast-talking comedic moments that we miss him doing into the role of a paranoid action star who believes he cannot get an Oscar because he hasn't acted in the role of a slave and even goes as far to calculating how many times the letter K reoccurs in a script, to see how often KKK appears. Kit also has a paranoid fear of aliens, which makes the film all the more fun as the cast act out an alien invasion movie to an unknowing Kit Ramsey, which only fuels to grow his paranoid fears of aliens and force him to retreat to the MindHead group for help.

Murphy also plays the role of Kit's nervous and nerdy twin brother, Jeff, who's hired as a double for Kit during the scenes they don't need full facial shots, but would rather be doing errands. Of the two roles Murphy played, I found myself preferring Jeff, as he was a character you could not help but like, and much more well rounded of the two Murphy roles, as expressed well during the scene Jeff explains why he prefers to be doing errands as opposed to being used for his likeness to Kit. Also, Jeff's quite the funny character, as evident in the scene where he crosses oncoming traffic.

Bobby Bowfinger, expertly played by Steve Martin, is a duplicitous man who will lie to any lengths in order to get his movie made and seek out any help he can in the most cost-effective way, as shown when he goes to look for a film crew, only to round up illegal immigrants into his van.


Heather Graham plays Daisy, a young girl fresh from Ohio with big dreams to becoming a star who will sleep with anyone, provided it gets her further ahead. With this character, you can either like her for being so willing to do anyone in order to get her own way, or you can dislike her for how quickly she jumps from man to man, leaving the previous men as nothing more than an afterthought. As for me, I liked her character.

I was quite surprised at how quickly the film moved along, as no scene overstays it's welcome. I did like how the characters didn't buy into Bowfingers explanation about Kit's peculiar method acting. But the film was quite predictable at times and never really managed to be surprising, and it didn't help that most of the characters didn't really develop at any point during the film. Also, the resolution at the end seems rather too convenient for my liking.

Bowfinger is a very humorous film that boasts a great cast, is a good satire upon Hollywood and Scientology (despite claims that it isn't satirical upon the latter). This is a film about aspiring filmmakers that, at the heart of it, is for any aspiring filmmakers, as evidenced on the faces of the cast and crew, who've been through it all, watching their hard work finally paid off on the big screen, resulting in a great moment that's rather quite touching, and then follows that up with another humorous moment that'll leave you smiling. Now if only Murphy and Martin could do more films like this, and less like The Pink Panther and Meet Dave.


Chris Skoufis said…
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Chris Skoufis said…
Very well written review! I still like Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy, so I'll defiantly see this. Though I hope that Eddie Murphy's career doesn't sink again and Steve Martin's... well, I haven't been following him :P
James Rodrigues said…
@Chris Steve Martin hasn't been doing much lately, the last films he did were Pink Panther 2 AND It's Complicated, starring Meryl Streep. He's been under the radar lately, but he has a film coming out this year
Tom_Film_Master said…
great review, I didn't expect something like this to be good. Eddie Murphey is great, just not very funny anymore.
HarleyQuinn said…
Kind of curious about this one, glad to see classic Martin and Murphy. great review!