Sunday, 24 July 2016

Retro Review: Soapdish (1991)

Soapdish
1991
Cast: Sally Field, Kevin Kline, Robert Downey Jr., Whoopi Goldberg, Elizabeth Shue, Teri Hatcher, Cathy Moriarty, Kathy Najimy, Carrie Fisher, Garry Marshall
Genre: Screwball Comedy
Estimated Worldwide Gross: $36,489,888

Plot: Celeste Talbert (Sally Field) is the star of the long-running soap opera ''The Sun Also Sets''. With the show's ratings down, Celeste's ruthlessly ambitious co-star, Montana Moorehead (Cathy Moriarty) & the show's arrogant producer, David Seton Barnes (Robert Downey Jr.) plot to aggravate her into leaving the show by bringing back her old flame, Jeffery Anderson (Kevin Kline) & hiring her beautiful young niece, Lori Craven (Elizabeth Shue) 






'Overlooked Screwball Comedy Farce From the 90s'

Following the sad and recent death of Garry Marshall, the man who created the sitcoms, Happy Days and Mork & Mindy, introduced us to Robin Williams, as well as through Pretty Woman, Runaway Bride and Mother's Day turned Julia Roberts into a rom-com starlet & of whom was instrumental in their impending successes, I thought that as a small tribute to his legacy, I would do a review of one of his other films where he had made a supporting cameo appearance: that one being Soapdish.

I remembered when this film first came out in 1991, I and my brother each did a drawing of the cast of Soapdish: mines didn't look as good as his, but in reflecting back it was interesting. I never saw it when it came out originally as I was too young for it, but after a recent viewing of the film, it really impressed me a lot.  

Celeste Talbert is the queen of daytime soap opera and one of the biggest divas on the planet. But after years of success on ''The Sun Always Sets'', she faces a set of problems that involve a niece, jealous cast members, wacky plot lines and an ex-boyfriend who shows up and has a few scores to settle with her. Whilst all this is taking place, Blonde bombshell and arch-rival, Montana Moorehead along with David and Ariel hatch a plan to drive Celeste off the show for good, and make Montana the new darling of 'The Sun Always Sets'. 

Two of my favourite scenes is when Kevin Kline's Jeffery says to Teri Hatcher's Ariel ''you have beautiful eyes'', and she replies ''they're nothing compared to my t**s'' and when Jeffery makes out with Celeste in a funny romantic scene, which they have to act out in front of the crew. 

Currently, this film has a rating of 6.5 on IMDb, which is obscene because it deserves a better score than that.

Garry Marshall plays the head of daytime programming who mutters lines such as ''she's a boy! She's a boy!''. It was nice to see him being in front of the camera for a change. 





Sally Field put on a good performance as Miranda Hillard in Mrs Doubtfire but she was also a dislikeable character. Here as Celeste Talbert, she really is in top gear as she hams it up and breaking new ground as she plays the complete opposite of Miranda: she is neurotic, she is feisty and yet she can also be misunderstood at times as well. As well as being rip-roaringly funny. Sally has terrific camaraderie with Whoopi Goldberg and Kevin Kline. Cathy Moriarty is wickedly evil as the b****y Montana Moorehead tearing it up with sidekick, David played by a pre- Avengers Robert Downey Jr. who is smitten with her boobs & is practically dying to sleep with her. Whereas Kevin Kline is so good in this, I'm actually amazed at how he isn't a bigger star and how he wasn't as big in the 1990s as he should've been. This performance, alongside as Otto in A Fish Called Wanda further proves he has a fine knack for doing comedy roles. The teleprompter scene is one that can brighten up anyone's mood. I enjoyed Sally and Kevin's scenes together, they had such great chemistry onscreen. Elizabeth Shue's first major cinematic role since Adventures in Babysitting as Celeste's niece/daughter was great, Teri Hatcher - prior to her Lois & Clark New Adventures of Superman and Desperate Housewives days - was in good form too and Whoopi Goldberg puts on an unforgettable show as Celeste's best friend and The Sun Always Sets head writer. It was a great follow up to her turn as a phoney psychic in 1990's Ghost alongside Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore. 

What is really interesting about Soapdish is the irony of the message and plot line behind it - Soap operas are known for their over-the-top plot lines, bombshells, exposes and all of these crazy things are happening in real life within the movie and involving the main cast members, in particular, Celeste, her niece and Celeste's old boyfriend, Jeffrey. The plot twists are as highly entertaining as they are humourous, the crazier that they become. And unlike soap operas, there is clever writing throughout Soapdish.

Soapdish is one of those movies that as brilliantly & wickedly funny & witty as it is, it rarely gets aired on TV as much as it deserves to be, and that is an utter shame because it truly is an excellent comedy that needs to be seen.



Final Verdict:

Soapdish is a humorous, farcical modern screwball satire that pokes fun at TV soap opera programmes. It's not an Oscar-worthy contender, and yet it is not a film set out to win awards but to make us laugh and entertain, which it precisely does. & it does so with pure, unadulterated joy. 

Life imitated art, and Soapdish truly lived up to that mantle, successfully. This spontaneous and rather overlooked comedy gem deserves one's attention. Especially fans and regular viewers of soap operas, who will certainly lap this one up. 


Overall:









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