"Bowfinger" is a mean-spirited comedy trying to pretend it's silly and cute, which makes it that much more contemptible.
I'm basically used to the fact that, as an actor, Steve Martin is a smartass. For a comedian, this can be a gift, a necessity. Being a smartass as a writer, however, is something entirely different. Those of us who have achieved minimal notoriety can credibly retain a smartass perspective, because we can still look at the world through average eyes and offer our take on subjects big and small, rich and poor, without being hypocrites due to our social position.
Steve Martin does not have this "luxury." He is a millionaire. He is a writer and a filmmaker who can write any book or get any film made merely by the power of his name. That Martin would choose to ridicule the caricature of low-budget filmmaking that is Bobby Bowfinger is the equivalent of Martin taking a stroll down Hollywood Boulevard and taking a warm piss on the first homeless guy he saw because said person offended his sense of aesthetics.
In "Bowfinger," Bobby Bowfinger (Martin) has two thousand dollars, a bunch of bad actors, and wants to make a movie. He wants to make it with superstar Kit Ramsey (Eddie Murphy) but doesn't have his permission. So, he simply follows Ramsey around and films the movie anyway. He gets a look-a-like named Jiff (Murphy, in a dual role), a bunch of bad actors including Daisy (Heather Graham), Carol (Christine Baranski) and Slater (Kohl Sudduth), a screenwriter Afrim (Adam Alexi-Malle) and camera man and supplier, Dave (Jamie Kennedy).
What does Steve Martin know about low-budget filmmaking, anyway? What does he know about misfits or about people who will forever fall short because they lack intelligence and talent? What does he know about actresses who have to sleep around to get what they want, other than having maybe slept with one? Why didn't Martin just make a comedy film about a quadriplegic's dream of competing at the Olympics in the 100-yard dash? He could have had hilarious scenes of the quad falling over in his electric wheelchair and being pinned on the hot asphalt for several hours. "Bowfinger" is a mean-spirited comedy trying to pretend it's silly and cute, which makes it that much more contemptible.
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