Movie Marathon Collection: Steve Martin (3 Discs) (Widescreen) product details page

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Movie Marathon Collection: Steve Martin (3 Discs) (Widescreen)

Steve MartinCharles GrodinEddie Murphy

Director: Ron HowardFrank OzCarl Reiner

released: March 2, 2010

Rating: Not rated: write a review
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The dream pairing of Steve Martin and Goldie Hawn does not produce the comic gold, so to speak, one would hope for, but Housesitter still has its share of lukewarm pleasures. Frank Oz's follow-up to the hits Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and What About Bob? is at its best when allowing the two veterans to engage in their experts-only subliminal sparring. As lie builds upon lie and both must go along with the others' whoppers for their own preservation, it's wonderful to watch Martin and Hawn match wits, trying to work each other into a corner without blowing the whole charade. The frustration, disbelief, and panic they barely contain, instead forcing a smile and having to run with the other's story, is priceless. However, the script on the whole doesn't live up to these best moments, asking altogether too many characters to play a lot dumber than they would really be. The ending is too hasty to sit well, for that matter. There's something too restrained about Housesitter, especially if one considers it a screwball comedy. Martin and Hawn's verbal gymnastics are good, but one wishes Oz would have found room for their gifts at physical comedy, which both have made something of a trademark. Still, their other trademarks -- Martin's righteous outrage ("I punched a totally innocent Hungarian") and Hawn's blithe teasing -- make Housesitter worth recommending to their fans. Derek Armstrong, All Movie Guide

The Lonely Guy was one of several transitional Steve Martin films in which the comedian began losing some of his "wild and crazy guy" persona and adopted a more human quality. Unfortunately, the transition is by no means complete in The Lonely Guy, seeing as the film is somewhat schizophrenic. It's trying to be both ironic and romantic, postmodern and engaging, but ends up falling unsatisfactorily between the two poles. Things are not helped by Arthur Hiller's uncertain direction, which keeps the film moving along at a decent pace for the first half hour or so, but then lets it steadily bog down for the remainder of the film. By the time the credits roll, the goodwill that the beginning of the movie built up has largely been dissipated. Still, there are a number of funny sequences (such as the restaurant scene), and if Martin can't pull the disparate parts of his character into a cohesive whole, he still makes for good company. Even better is Charles Grodin who nails his part from start to finish. Robyn Douglass does well as Martin's ex-girlfriend, but Judith Ivey can't do much with her under-realized character. Craig Butler, All Movie Guide

Bowfinger is an unassuming but nonetheless rib-tickling comedy that continually serves up reversals and surprises. Consistent with Steve Martin's past plays and screenplays, Bowfinger is built upon an imaginative premise and always manages to keep a gentle and good-natured tone during the madcap narrative. However, this film truly comes to life each time Eddie Murphy steps onto the screen as either Kit Ramsey or his nerdy brother Jiff. Aside from The Nutty Professor, this is certainly the most notable Eddie Murphy performance since his slick Axle Foley. While the movie doesn't always pull off its mixture of low farce and sharp Hollywood satire, it does serve up a smorgasbord of side-splitting moments, most notably the scene in which a geeky Eddie Murphy is forced to sprint through oncoming traffic shrieking "Heavenly God" Above all, Bowfinger illustrates Steve Martin's talent as both a comic writer and performer. In an artfully warmhearted way, this satire of la-la land is as edgy and truthful as The Player. It not only targets the Hollywood system, but it gives new meaning to the words "guerrilla filmmaking." To many, Bowfinger may seem like the typical slapstick comedy; however, those who have a greater understanding and appreciation of Tinseltown will recognize this as a loving homage to moviemaking and the hopeless hacks that dwell within. Adam Goldberg, All Movie Guide

Carl Reiner's concept movie allows Steve Martin, one of the great comic talents of the latter half of the 20th century, to interact with the great actors of days past. It is not simply a parody of old movies but a tribute to them, a spoof with reverence. And who better to play the not-quite-hard-boiled detective who brings it all together than Martin? While the hijacked actors deliver their lines in all seriousness, Martin's goofiness and strong comic timing give the scenes a delightfully humorous spin. The premise is funny, but, like many one-joke concepts, not funny enough that it doesn't wear thin. The film has many ardent fans, though, and those with extensive knowledge of classic cinema are more likely to join them than are casual movie aficionados. Impressive as a technical feat, highly imaginative, and often funny, Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid is a very good film, even if both Reiner and Martin have been involved in better ones. Matthew Doberman, All Movie Guide

This fond and funny look at the travails of an extended middle-class family succeeds on the strength of its fine ensemble acting and the warm humor of its polished, only occasionally mawkish script. Director and co-writer Ron Howard, no stranger to blockbusters, guided Steve Martin to one of his biggest grosses -- and one of his most restrained, least wild-and-crazy performances -- by surrounding him with seasoned pros (Mary Steenburgen, Jason Robards, Rick Moranis) and placing the frequent belly laughs in a believable emotional context. Dianne Wiest is particularly fine as the divorced, romantically frustrated single mom coming to terms with the burgeoning sexuality of her own children (Martha Plimpton, Leaf Phoenix), while old trooper Helen Shaw, as the brood's grandmother, strikes a precise balance between goofy and wise. The film's sweet-and-sour view of parenting may be idealized and its many subplots a little too easily resolved, but most critics and audiences found the combination of suburban angst, heartwarming characterizations, and bawdy humor irresistible. Rarely has a modern Hollywood comedy been so simultaneously poignant and hilarious. Brian J. Dillard, All Movie Guide

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