Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Sally Field, Tom Hanks, John Goodman, Mark Rydell, Kim Greist
Director: David Seltzer
Genres: Comedy, Drama
No Description Available. Genre: Feature Film-Drama Rating: R Release Date: 1-JUN-2004 Media Type: DVD
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Underrated, almost brilliant, but flawed
Dennis Littrell | SoCal | 06/20/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Punchline begins with an engaging premise. Steven Gold (Tom Hanks at age 31) is a med student driven by his physician father to become a doctor. But Steven hates medical school, can't stand the sight of blood, etc. Instead of going to class, he goes to the local comedy club (The Gas Station). Instead of doing his homework, he does standup. He's very good. Lilah Krytsick (Sally Field at 42) is a frumpy Jersey housewife with three kids and a husband (John Goodman) who sells insurance. He wants her to stay home nights, but she has a passion for wanting to make people laugh. So she too moonlights at The Gas Station. She is not funny. In desperation she spends five hundred dollars of household funds to buy jokes to use on the audience. Everything bombs.Meanwhile, Steven is a little behind in his rent and thinks that, what the hey, he can sell Lilah some jokes. But it never comes to that. Instead he becomes enchanted with her and helps her break free of her inhibitions and perform naturally and effectively on stage. Can true love be far behind? (Rhetorical question, but the answer is not pat.)If you are a Tom Hanks fan, see this movie. You will be delighted. He puts on a versatile performance depicting a guy who needed to be, in the very fiber of his being, a comedian. The role shows off his talent, and makes us understand why he is now, at the relatively young age of 45, one of America's premiere screen idols. The rest of the movie, however, is a mix of strengths and weaknesses. Sally Field, in a difficult role, gives an uneven performance which I think is partly the fault of director David Seltzer, who also wrote the script. His direction is brilliant and awful by turns. In particular the schmaltzy, unnecessarily unrealistic ending is very disappointing. He also dug himself a hole because the top comedic performance had to be the last, yet it wasn't. All the expectations of the audience fell, and perhaps that is why Seltzer stuck himself with an ending that played like something devised by a committee of filmland execs intent on political correctness above all else. Also, any difference between the John Goodman who played Rosanne Arnold's husband on TV and the John Goodman here was not immediately discernable.However some of the scenes were just perfect I especially liked it when Steven's overbearing father (instead of a network producer) shows up at the club. Steven Gold's anguished, self-revelatory on stage reaction is excellent. --Or when Lilah rushes to prepare dinner slapstick style for company; or when night is done and it's four or five am and Steven has helped her discover herself and he asks how she will explain being out all night to her husband and she says she will crawl into bed with one of the kids and he will think she slept there all night. Also good was the singing in the rain scene and the scene in which the daughter, showing the wisdom of children, says to Lilah, after her husband asks to see her perform, "Say yes, mom." Also good were the motley troupe of semi-pro comedians, including a fine performance by Mark Rydell as Romeo, the manager of the club.This rates a five point something at IMDb, but that's a little unfair. It's a better movie than that. See it for Tom Hanks, and for David Seltzer, who just missed making a great movie."
Tom Hanks looks so young!
Dennis Littrell | 01/23/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I caught this film on HBO or Showtime the other night, after not having seen it in years and I have to say that it's better than I remembered it. I totally loved the non-standup comedy details of the film- Hanks making comments about "going under" as he tries in vein to clean himself up before going onstage after not having taken a shower in awhile due to the fact that he's been kicked out of his apartment, Sally Field's portrayol of a woman wanting more in her life than just motherhood, etc. You really get the feeling that these are real people with dreams and you want to root for them, hoping that they'll "make it". I found myself getting nervous before each of their stand up performances. Anyway, great film, highly recommended."
It's more than a film on comedy club
BM | Hong Kong | 10/11/1999
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Chaplin said comedy is tragedy plus time. I love the character Tom Hanks plays, a medical student who fears blood and would not have opted for learning in surgery but for his parental instructions. What really moves me is not the lines (they are funny) but the philiosophy the whole film brings out - be yourself, always."
Dave Fruge | Metairie, La. United States | 05/27/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is such a good movie! Tom Hanks plays a promising, self - destructive comic with emotional problems, and gives an OSCAR-CALIBUR PERFORMANCE! I have been a huge fan of Hanks since Bosom Buddies, but this was the film which made me realize just how great he is! It actually came out about the same time as "Big", which Hanks was nominated for, and I never understood why this film got slighted. Check it out, and see the first sign of the greatness to come in "Philledelphia" and Forest Gump"!"