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How does Bobby Bowfinger (Steve Martin), Hollywood's least successful director, get Kit Ramsey (Eddie Murphy), Hollywood's biggest star, in his ultra low-budget film? Any way he can. With an ingenious scheme and the help of Kit's eager and nerdy brother Jiff, an ambitious and sexy wannabe (Heather Graham) and an over-the-hill diva (Christine Baranski), Bowfinger sets out to trick Kit Ramsey into the performance of a lifetime. Enjoy the fun with Eddie Murphy and Steve Martin - together for the first time in the hit comedy Bowfinger.
Filmmakers often remark that it's just so hard to make a bad picture that few would take on the challenge if they weren't so naive. Steve Martin's Bobby Bowfinger is cut from that pattern, one of those sweet, indomitable operators of Hollywood who seem to be descended directly from Ed Wood (of Plan 9 from Outer Space infamy). To resurrect his ramshackle existence, Bowfinger opts to film his accountant's sci-fi spectacular, Chubby Rain, about aliens invading in raindrops. The snag is he needs to attach action megastar Kit Ramsey (Eddie Murphy), an actor so paranoid he counts the K's in scripts to uncover possible Ku Klux Klan influences. When his effort fails, Bowfinger hits on an ingenious scheme to film Ramsey without his knowledge, throwing his actors at the hapless star whenever he appears in public. Only Kit begins to believe he's being hounded by aliens for real, and runs hysterically to his guru (Terence Stamp) at a Scientology-clone group called MindHead, where people walk around in fine suits wearing white pyramids on their heads. Deprived of his star, yet not to be undone, Bowfinger hires a look-alike, Jiff (also Eddie Murphy), to fill in. The tone of the picture is sometimes flat, rather than deadpan, but that's nitpicking. The farce is quick and engrossing, and populated with terrific performances, especially by Eddie Murphy, whose dual role as Kit and Jiff showcases his character-building gift, and by Martin, whose Bowfinger, part con man and part would-be visionary, manages to capture your sympathies. Heather Graham's would-be actress cheerfully sleeps her way to the top like she knows she's supposed to, and Christine Baranski plays her shopworn method actor with myopic self-absorption. --Jim Gay
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This is not the kind of movie one watches for thinking deep thoughts, but there are a few moments that are genuinely hilarious and most of the rest is amusing enough to be endearing. One scene involving Eddie Murphy running across the freeway is especially funny and justifies watching the whole movie. Murphy plays two parts in the film, Kit Ramsey, the paranoid egomaniac star and his brother Jiff, a dorky go-fer. He's especially funny as Jiff and clearly relishes the part. Steve Martin brings a fairly understated approach to his role as the puppet master trying to orchestrate the film and it works very well. Heather Graham somehow manages to pull off being a small-town naïve girl who simultaneously sleeps her way to the top with stunning rapidity.
Bowfinger is probably not the funniest comedy you'll ever see, but it has a few great scenes and the balance of the film is reasonably entertaining. The basic story resembles Ed Wood (Special Edition) in many respects, but is presented in a much more accessible and mainstream manner. It's silly fun that requires its audience to sit back, switch off the brain, and enjoy the ride. As long as you're prepared to do that, you'll probably like the movie.