Sunday, June 21, 2009

Frank Oz and Bowfinger

When Bowfinger premiered way back in 1999, I must have been asleep, too busy, or just a sore plain loser. I never got the chance to watch this comedy.

It wasn't only until 10 years later, while my boyfriend and I were burying our heads in DVD racks in Metrowalk, that I was introduced to Bowfinger.

"Napanood mo na 'yan? Maganda 'yan," Sam recommended.

I wasn't that convinced so he bought the DVD for me. Looking at the tagline "The Con is On", I thought it was one of those Mafia-type comedy films I've grown tired of. Unenthusiastically, I poised myself on the sofa, as Sam pressed play and the usual opening title cards rolled on.

But at the start of the film, at the moment when Bobby Bowfinger set up a meeting with his two actors and said, "We are making a movie!", I knew I misjudged it.

Bobby Bowfinger, a small-time, almost non-existent filmmaker nearing forty, is desperate to make his feature film. So when an accountant-turned writer Akhmid pens "Chubby Rain", a science fiction script that ends with the protagonist screaming to the aliens above, "Gotcha Suckas!", Bowfinger gathered his team of small-time actors and crew to make his dreams come true.

The first and obvious thing to do is to convince a hot shot Hollywood Producer to produce the film and get a hot shot Hollywood actor in it. Expectedly, the Producer (Robert Downey Jr.) turned him down, and the egoistic top actor Kit Ramsey kicked him out of his car.

But Bowfinger had a brilliant idea-- shooting the film, without Kit Ramsey knowing he's in it! The ultimate guerilla shooting.

That easy?

What followed are a series of hilarious puns and antics. Kit Ramsey (played by Eddie Murphy) was sort of a wacko and did have fantasies of aliens and stuff. It was fun seeing Bowfinger's crew stalking him and following him around with a hidden camera.

Bowfinger also poked fun on Hollywood stereotypes. Heather Graham's character, for example, is portrayed as the quintessential naive girl from Ohio who arrives in Los Angeles, expecting to become a star over night, a girl who sleeps her way around to get to the top.

Kit Ramsey, the hot shot actor, is the typical Hollywood male star with a big ego.

And Bowfinger? Well, I just love his character here. He's a lovable loser. He's desperate, broke, not to mention a poor taste for scripts (I mean, Chubby Rain is a senseless, B movie!) But I feel for him. He just loves what he does and will do everything to finally make his movie. He's an underdog, but anyone will root for him. Yes, he lied to his crew, but he only did that, because he did not want to disappoint them.

Bowfinger was directed by Frank Oz, whom I find out, after googling, is actually a famous voice actor and puppeteer.

He's the voice of Miss Piggy, Grover, Fozzie Bear, Animal and Sam the Eagle in the Muppet Show. In Sesame Street, he gave life to Cookie Monster and Bert-- my favorite Sesame Street characters.

In Star Wars, he's loveable and wisdom-filled Yoda. And it was Oz's idea to reverse Yoda's grammatical sentences, from verb to subject (ex. Disappointed, you were!).

Frank Oz is also the Director of Indian in the Cupboard and the remake of Stepford Wives.

Frank Oz and Bowfinger- definitely two firsts for me. This is the first time I knew of a Film Director, who's also a Puppeteer and Voice Actor. And, my first time to mark a comedy film as one of my favorites (I'm the type that usually goes for drama and dark stories)

Anyone who hasn't watched this yet? You like hilarious laughs one after another? Or perhaps, you're like me, an independent small-time filmmaker desperate to make a movie. You'll love Bowfinger!

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