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Bowfinger

Bobby Bowfinger (Steve Martin) has a problem. After years of struggling in Los Angeles as an independent filmmaker, he finally has a script that he thinks will be box-office dynamite. Never mind that it's called Chubby Rain, chronicles the story of nefarious extraterrestrials who invade Earth in raindrops, and was written by his accountant. It's the sort of thing that he knows will turn his career around. But after pushing the script on bigwig Hollywood producer Jerry Renfro (Robert Downey Jr.), Bowfinger is told that he has to secure A-list action star Kit Ramsey (Eddie Murphy) to get funding. Of course, the alien-battling actor isn't interested. In fact, when he isn't using his computer to find how many times the letter K shows up in his scripts (if the total is divisible by three, it means the KKK is backing it), he's visiting the headquarters of the quasi-religious "Mind Head" organization, who, under the supervision of leader Terry Stricter (Terence Stamp), are trying to disabuse him of his many paranoias — among which is that he will spontaneously combust at any moment. With a cast and crew ready to work but no star, Bowfinger decides that he will have to stalk Ramsey, ambushing him with his actors in single takes in order to construct a workable film, and when that can't take care of everything, he hires Ramsey lookalike Jiff (Murphy, natch) to act as a stand-in, even though the young man resembles Ramsey but has all the charisma of a Java programmer. Written by Martin and directed by veteran Frank Oz, Bowfinger was one of the most amusing comedies of 1999. It's especially enjoyable to see Martin and Murphy — who many of us have grown up with over the years — create a fresh, original comedy in the face of newcomers (and fellow SNL veterans) like Mike Myers and Adam Sandler. Martin is always best when he portrays the bumbling buffoon who succeeds by raw optimism (first seen in The Jerk), and Murphy adds to his string of multiple-role films, such as Coming to America and The Nutty Professor, although in Bowfinger he forgoes the hammy prosthetics and creates two separate individuals with little more than his own gifts of vocal inflection and subtle body language. Heather Graham, as a Tinseltown tenderfoot determined to sleep her way to the top, earn some of the best laughs, while Christine Baranski, as a self-important stage-actress who regards film-work as slumming, mercilessly downdresses leading ladies everywhere. Universal's feature-packed DVD includes a commentary track with Oz, a "making-of" featurette, two deleted scenes, an outtake reel, production notes, cast and crew bios and filmographies, trailers for Bowfinger, The Hurricane, Liar Liar, EdTV, and The Nutty Professor, and additional supplements as DVD-ROM content.
—JJB



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