Directed by Frank Oz and written by Steve Martin, Bowfinger follows struggling filmmaker Bobby Bowfinger (Martin) as he concocts a plan to shoot a movie starring one of Hollywood’s biggest stars (Eddie Murphy’s Kit Ramsey) – despite the fact that said star hasn’t actually agreed to participate in the flick. Bowfinger, alongside a ragtag group of actors and crew members, begins surreptitiously filming Kit during his day-to-day exploits, with this plan eventually boosted by a decision to hire a Kit Ramsey lookalike (also played by Murphy). It’s an agreeable silly premise that’s employed to watchable and sporadically hilarious effect by director Oz, and there’s little doubt that the movie benefits substantially from its raft of affable performances and overall atmosphere of easygoing pleasantness. It’s equally apparent, however, that Bowfinger does, even at just 97 minutes, contain a handful of palpable lulls within its narrative, although such concerns are generally rendered moot by the aforementioned charming vibe (and it doesn’t hurt, certainly, that Oz has included a small handful of laugh-out-loud funny bits and sequences, including a high-water-mark sequence that finds Bowfinger cajoling Kit’s double into running across a busy highway). The end result is a decent Hollywood satire that generally hits far more than it misses, and yet it’s impossible to deny that, given the wealth of talent in front of and behind the camera, Bowfinger could (and should) have been a far more memorable and iconic piece of work.

*** out of ****

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