Thursday, February 14, 2013

SOAPDISH (1991) movie review

d. Hoffman, Michael (USA)

One of the funniest comedies about show business, performed by a superb cast at the top of their game. Set backstage of the fictional soap opera The Sun Also Sets, Sally Field is hilarious as an aging diva, Cathy Moriarty spits nails as her bleached-blonde nemesis on and off screen, Robert Downey, Jr. sails through with stunning verve as the manipulative production manager, and Kevin Kline comes close to topping his Oscar-winning performance in A Fish Called Wanda as a washed-up soap actor doing productions of Death of a Salesman in Florida dinner theatre.

Whoopi Goldberg, Garry Marshall and a pre-Desperate Housewives Teri Hatcher all lend terrific support, bouncing to the beat of Alan Silvestri’s jaunty score. Only Elizabeth Shue, as the up-and-coming ingĂ©nue, seems out of her league, outclassed by her seasoned comrades. Looking over the filmographies of director Michael Hoffman and screenwriters Robert Harling and Andrew Bergman, there are as many misses as hits, but here, they hit all the right notes. This just gets better every time I see it, perhaps the best onscreen farce since What's Up, Doc?

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