The premise is about making a movie where the star doesn't know they're in a movie is based on an apparently real-life incident in the 1920's, but Martin works it into pure comedy gold. It's a resurgence for the actor, a return to form after a decade of flops and serious dramas that misfired, and Martin gives his best performance in years.
And then there's Eddie Murphy, whose career has had more ups and downs that perhaps almost anyone, at the top of his game here. He plays himself, and his twin brother, but it's wonderful without all the gimmicks, make-up and fat suits. He's great in both roles, some of the best work he's ever done partly because the script brings out the best in him but mostly because this project is such a perfect fit for his comic gifts.
There are a number of wonderful, laugh-out-loud moments here, most notably Murphy's scene on a very busy freeway and Martin quite literally rounding up his cameramen, but the film is genial rather than mean-spirited. Industry people will laugh knowingly, but it's definitely accessible to laypeople as well. "Bowfinger" is as clever as movies get, a riotous and good-hearted spoof with two very funny lead performances.