It’s strange to think that a comedy starring heavyweights such as Eddie Murphy and Steve Martin might fly under the radar, but 1999’s Bowfinger seems to have done just that. Which is a shame, because this is a clever piece of comedy that packs a lot of laughs.
Martin plays the titular Bobby Bowfinger, a desperate small-time Hollywood director who decides to make a movie with the biggest action star in the world, Kit Ramsey (Murphy). Ramsey refuses but Bowfinger decides to make the movie anyway.
He directs his actors to approach Ramsey in the street and say their lines to him, filming covertly so Ramsey is in the movie without realising it.
Conveniently, Ramsey is experiencing paranoid delusions which are only amplified by being unwittingly thrust into a B-grade sci-fi tale called Chubby Rain in which “the aliens come down to earth inside the rain drops, making the rain drops chubby.”
It’s a ridiculous premise but it works, delivering constant laughs as Kit becomes increasingly unhinged as the deliberately terrible movie is made around him.
Murphy pulls double-time (as he so often does) portraying both Kit Ramsey and his innocently awkward, non-famous brother Jiff. It’s an impressive performance as the brothers are polar opposites and Murphy plays them both believably.
The plot is equally ridiculous and intriguing and lampoons countless Hollywood stereotypes along the way. A strong supporting cast lead by Heather Graham and Christine Baranski rounds out a misfit cast of show biz wannabes who bring Bowfinger’s dream to life by any means necessary.
Bowfinger is a hugely underrated comedy. It’s an unusual underdog tale that delivers plenty of laughs and is a rare example of Hollywood making fun of itself.
It is a really great movie about a really bad movie, not the other way around. If that doesn’t make sense to you, best you get yourself over to Mind Head. Ask for Ray.