Punchline (1988)

TOMATOMETER

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Sally Field goes the Roseanne route in Punchline. Field plays a housewife and mother who suddenly develops the urge to be a comedienne. Her comic instincts are on target, but her timing and delivery stinks. Tom Hanks, a stand-up comic with a few years' experience under his belt, offers to teach Field the ropes. As they get to know each other, Hanks and Field begin to pick up on each other's shortcomings; though Hanks has far more talent than Field, for example, he has a positively ruinous habit of expressing his deep-down dislike of everyone else in the world, and this frequently alienates his audience. Writer-director David Seltzer times Punchline like a good joke; he continually sets up for the expected, then pulls a last-minute fast one, keeping the film lively and unpredictable throughout. The supporting cast, coincidentally including future Roseanne star John Goodman, is uniformly superb.
Rating:
R (adult situations/language)
Genre:
Comedy , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

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Cast

Tom Hanks
as Steven Gold
Sally Field
as Lilah Krytsick
Mark Rydell
as Romeo
Paul Mazursky
as Arnold
Kim Greist
as Madeline
Andrew Parker
as Boy on Gurney
Pam Matteson
as Utica Blake
Taylor Negron
as Albert Emperato
Mike Starr
as Man with Bullhorn
Candace Cameron Bure
as Waitress of the Gas Station
John Kirby
as Marketing Man
Barry Sobel
as Robyn Green
Susie Essman
as Lilah's Hairdresser
Bob Zmuda
as Audience Participants and Hecklers
Cameron Thor
as Audience Participants and Hecklers
Scott Williams
as Audience Participants and Hecklers
Max Alexander
as Mr. Ball
Casey Sander
as Ernie, the Bartender
Ben Hartigan
as Older Clergyman
Joey Vega
as Waiter in Coffee Shop
Rich Ramirez
as Taxi Driver
Charles Richards
as Maitre d'
James C. Lewis
as Audience Participants and Hecklers
Marty Pollio
as Juggling Comic
Kimberly Ryusaki
as Waitress of the Gas Station
George D. Wallace
as Dr. Wishniak
Andrea Adams
as Waitress of the Gas Station
Consuela Nance
as Waitress of the Gas Station
Jimmy Lewis
as Audience Participant and Heckler
Richard Parker
as Talent Scout with Glasses
Bianca Rose
as Heidi
Sam H. Ginsburg
as Sam, The Laughing Patient
Joycee Katz
as Joycee
Crane Jackson
as Second Faculty Examiner
Mac Robbins
as Billy Lane
Ron Ulstad
as Madeline's Boss
Dottie Archibald
as Mrs. Ball
Carin Badger
as Audience Participants and Hecklers
Paul Kozlowski
as Jerry Petroviak
Michael Pollock
as Piano Player
Jimmy Brogan
as Younger Clergyman
Randy Fechter
as Young Doctor
Melissa Tufeld
as Mark's Wife
Howard Weller
as Crew-Cut Talent Scout
Darunee Doa Hale
as Waitress of the Gas Station
Renna Bartlett
as Waitress of the Gas Station
Tiffany Terry
as Waitress of the Gas Station
Susan Michael
as Waitress of the Gas Station
George Novogroder
as Audience Participants and Hecklers
Wanda Balay
as Waitress of the Gas Station
Mark Helm
as Audience Participants and Hecklers
Eva Dunlap
as Audience Participants and Hecklers
Suzanne Rains
as Audience Participants and Hecklers
Marcy Del Campos
as Waitress of the Gas Station
Susan Avants
as Audience Participants and Hecklers
Barbara Collier
as Waitress of the Gas Station
Sharon Lyn Borne
as Audience Participants and Hecklers
Christiane Eden
as Waitress of the Gas Station
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Critic Reviews for Punchline

All Critics (16) | Top Critics (1)

Unfunny, at times morose, comedy-drama about standup comics.

March 23, 2008
Video-Reviewmaster.com

A movie that engages us with its distinctive blend of humor and heartbreak

Full Review… | July 19, 2003
Spirituality and Practice

Enjoyable thanks to three fantastic performances, a handful of fairly amusing moments, and an interesting glimpse behind the scenes of the stand-up comedy industry.

December 5, 2002
Apollo Guide

Though Punchline defies the Hollywood penchant for producing either pure comedy or straight drama, its view of those with the guts to stand before an audience and dare them to laugh is oddly uplifting.

Full Review… | August 23, 2016
United Press International

Quote not available.

February 29, 2008
Kaplan vs. Kaplan

Quote not available.

August 7, 2005
Cinema Signals

Audience Reviews for Punchline

David Seltzer, could written much better Punchline. Unfortunately, he don't did that. Still, continue being a interesting view of stand-up comedy world.

Lucas Martins
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

Hanks is magnetic as a naturally gifted comic whose funny is the direct result of being a lousy human being. Somehow though he befriends I-want-to-be-more-than-just-a-housewife Fields and so they help each other in the toxic environment that is stand-up comedy. It held my interest, especially Hanks whose struggle against self-destruction is riveting.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

Two great actors, one boring, predictable, unfunny script about comedians who fall in love. This movie could have been way better.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

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