Punchline (1988) - Rotten Tomatoes

Punchline (1988)

Punchline (1988)

TOMATOMETER

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Punchline Photos

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.

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Cast

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

All Critics (17) | Top Critics (1)

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.

August 23, 2016 | Full Review…

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

March 23, 2008 | Rating: 3/5

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

July 19, 2003 | Full Review…

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 | Rating: 74/100

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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