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2 reviews, 18 user ratings

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by Jack Sommersby

"Mostly Nothing But Soap Suds"
2 stars

Kevin Kline is aces here; unfortunately this doesn't extend to the rest of the cast and crew (though Ueli Steiger's cinematography is reliably luscious).

When Kevin Kline takes on a dramatic role, he's usually dull -- a handsome milquetoast with an SAG card; but when he does comedy, a dormant talent seems to awaken, and he's nothing short of spectacular -- as his 1988 Oscar win for his performance as the eccentric hit man in A Fish Called Wanda more than proved (after all, the Academy's record on Oscars for actors in comedy has always been dire). Kline is, again, spectacular as a former soap-opera actor in the satirical Soapdish, where he blows everyone within earshot right off the screen. Granted, the screenplay affords him a good number of amusing scenes -- my favorite is his being reduced to performing Death of a Salesman at a Florida dinner theatre to a bunch of geriatrics who are hard of hearing ("Did he say, 'The mayor of Providence.'?") and clumsy (when a lady knocks her coffee cup over, to silence the lady from repeatedly calling for the waiter, Kline steps off the stage to clean it up, eliciting a thank-you and a compliment that he's doing very well up there) -- but Kline takes the written words and injects oodles of sharp irony into them, and it's something truly beautiful, like watching a bud blossom into a rose. Unfortunately, Kline is the only worthwhile element in a film that's overly broad way too much of the time and thus wears you down not fifteen minutes into it, with director Michael Hoffman's jackhammer-like subtlety the chief culprit. Like way too many sitcoms, each scene comes with it's own built-in climax, so the comedy is given little chance to build (excepting the dinner-theatre bit); combine this with most of the actors (particularly the gruesome Sally Field and Whoopi Goldberg) shouting their dialogue so shrilly a bullhorn couldn't be heard, and you have yourself an abrasive "entertainment" that goes down as well as swallowing two aspirins with a dry throat. Yet Soapdish isn't a complete waste. After all, for those seeking to watch a true comedic genius at work, there's Kline hitting each verbal and physical joke right out of the park in spades.

1982's "Tootsie" unleashed far better jabs at soap operas.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=867&reviewer=327
originally posted: 03/18/06 17:43:31
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User Comments

4/06/06 Troy M. Grzych A great cast having fun playing on screen. Fun to watch but forgetful. 3 stars
9/25/04 NJ Cup Winner 95-00-03 I've enjoyed myself a lot less in my life, like reading Butterbean's comments, for example 4 stars
2/04/04 ROY L. CAIN,JR. A clever spoof of the Soaps. MMM: Montana Moorehead, Mamacita! 5 stars
3/31/03 Jack Sommersby Forced and heavy-handed, but it breezes by and Kline is screamingly funny. 3 stars
8/15/02 KMG stupid 2 stars
3/14/02 Iris Dementia Praecox About as insanely zany as a substanceless movie can get! 4 stars
10/10/01 Andrew Carden At Times A Very Funny Movie, Downey Does In Fact Ruin It Though. 4 stars
9/19/01 Butterbean If you are an old fart who likes to watch CBS, then you will love this. 3 stars
8/11/01 Alejandro it's a comedy, and it's as fun as they're supposed to be 4 stars
4/15/01 Corey Q One of my all-time favourites! Every line is hilarious! 5 stars
2/15/01 Elvisfan No complaints, just laughs laughs & more laughs! Really good time 5 stars
1/09/01 Coo Just great 5 stars
7/22/00 Eric Liégeois Elisabeth Shue is my favorite actress and she is great in Soapdish 5 stars
12/02/99 Holly Kincaid Love this movie! Using it for one of my film class papers! 5 stars
6/26/99 hum funny 4 stars
5/26/99 GothamDK Very tight, over the top script! Almost as tight as Hatcher's bod (pre-Lois days). 4 stars
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  29-May-1991 (PG-13)



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