Saturday, January 3, 2015

Punchline (1988)

IMDb plot summary (truncated): Steven Gold is a stand-up comedian who is flat broke and has recently dropped out of medical school. Lilah Krytsick is housewife with an ambition to be a stand-up comedian, however she doesnt seem to have the talent. Steven takes her under his wings and teaches her the art of comedy and humour.
Directed by David Seltzer. Starring Sally Field, Tom Hanks, John Goodman, and Mark Rydell.

Dang. This is a great movie.

Granted, there are a few more scenes than I'd care for of everyone actually doing their acts, given that I hardly ever find stand-up funny in the first place, but the heart of this story is the characters, not the jokes. Sally Field is very likable as a housewife who wants to be a comedienne against her husband's wishes, and Tom Hanks' charming-but-immature college dropout is also a great character. The most memorable scenes in the film are when he is emotionally falling apart (I'm thinking especially of his father's appearance at his gig and his Singin' in the Rain routine).

The interactions between Field and Hanks, as well as Field and her husband (John Goodman), are real and fascinating to watch. The characters are all so easy to root for, and I found myself getting *really* sucked into the story. The ending is beautifully done and very moving. Overall, it's just a really great flick, and one that I'd definitely like to watch again someday.

4 stars.

Flickchart: #438 out of 2289, below Repulsion and above The Great Race.

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