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Reviews for the week of August 16, 1999.

Mystery Men

Mystery Men
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Despite the fact that Mystery Men's previews appeared insipidly, moronically vapid, I actually thought it had some promise. Apparently, that promise was broken. Yikes! This film is too stupid to be comical. That is, unless you happen to find juvenile bathroom humor and hideously pathetic characters amusing.

Mystery Men attempts to poke fun at superheroes like Batman, Superman, etc, with a motley crew of screwball superheroes. The only "appealing" hero is Captain Amazing (Greg Kinnear), whose career is on ice, thanks to the fact that he has successfully eradicated crime from his city. (No crime to fight means he's out of a job and loses his precious Pepsi endorsement.)

The rest of the "superheroes" receive no attention at all.

Let's see, we've got the Spleen, a hero whose super power is - get this- "farting". The Blue Raja (Hank Azaria) doesn't wear blue and can't do anything useful except throw silverware. The Bowler (Janeane Garofalo) does manage to pull a few decent stunts by hitting things with her bowling ball (it contains her dead father's skull - and his ghost). Tony (Eddie Izzard) claims excessive anger and a hot temper as his superpowers (he reminds me vaguely of Fonzie on Happy Days, I have no idea why). And it isn't hard to guess Invisible Boy's "power".

The most you get from Mystery Men is a few weak chuckles. The few fleeting moments of mildly diverting humor in this film aren't worth the time you'll waste watching this mindless drivel - and it's definitely not worth spending your money on!

My Rating = Two Stars



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Bobby Bowfinger (Steve Martin), an unsuccessful movie producer/director, has hit the bottom of the Hollywood barrel. His few remaining friends in the business are ready to desert him for other work, his faithful dog Betsy is turning her back on him, his bills are piling up and the phone company is threatening to cut off his service.

So begins Bowfinger a lively, witty movie about the making of a movie.

Desperate to make it big, Bowfinger decides to make a film scripted by his Iranian accountant, who has brilliantly written about aliens coming to Earth via raindrops.

The only thing missing is a crew and cast. The needed crew is quickly collected from Mexican immigrants who have illegally entered the United States, and a few wannabe actors and one big star, Kit Ramsey (Eddie Murphy) comprise the cast with one minor problem - Kit doesn't know he's in the movie. (But Bowfinger figures a few ways to get around that.)

As it turns out, Kit Ramsey has a few secrets of his own. Seriously stressed and paranoid, probably from his recent work as a famous actor, Kit relies on a New Age guru/shrink to reassure him that everything is all right.

But things are not all right, when Bobby Bowfinger starts shooting his movie starring Kit. His plan is to have the actors walk up to Kit and say their lines - therefore, Kit will be in their movie. Terrified that the aliens are really out to get him, Kit suspects that he's going crazy. More help from the money-grubbing-guru is needed.

When Kit goes into seclusion for a few days, at his guru's recommendation, Bowfinger has to find a lookalike actor to replace Kit. He settles on an incredibly uncoordinated, dumb dork who, they discover too late, is actually Kit's brother.

Bowfinger is a wonderfully laughable work of entertainment. Two of the best comedians in Hollywood, Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy make a terrific team. The script (written by Martin) is quick-paced and adeptly crafted to garner laugh after laugh.

My Rating = Three Stars


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