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Have you heard the one about the comedian who bombed so bad he fell through the floor? It seems like stand-up was just a stage for him...
And after watching this morose melodramedy, aren't we all glad that comedy like this was just that for Field and Hanks, nothing but a stage to leave behind? Not that either one lacks the charisma and timing to tell a joke in the spotlight, as the performances are the only thing here that really pack any punch. Rather, despite their obvious comedic sensibilities, the screenplay never delivers a modicum of the wit or profundity that it imagines these characters muster on the mic, the jokes instead being rote and hackneyed. If the movie ultimately is a bore for this reason, its overall narrative thrust posits the opposite---that talent will overcome any paucity of material or overabundance of cliches, that well-told, even an old joke can still kill.
Maybe that's true, but really great stand-up, whatever demons may torment and motivate the actual performers, requires ego and confidence; and though the movie knows and dramatizes this, it strangely lacks, to a fault, that confidence in itself, and so stuffs itself to overflowing with platitudes and archetypes. On their own, given room to breathe, these arcs and characters might have actually worked: Watching either Hanks or Field hungrily hone their material, struggling to balance everyday life and nightlife on stage---but together, the narrative threads just never figure out how to make ends meet in an original or interesting way. The result feels flat and overstuffed simultaneously, the movie's highs artificial and its lows rather shallow.
I don't really get why all the people I've read, give mixed reviews about this film. It isn't a work of art, but has sort of excellence in a particular way, I find it timeless, even - really fun to watch.
The Standup meltdown was so odd, then Steven gold was crying. Tom hanks played the character.
Housewife joins the stand up comedy circuit in this entertaining romantic comedy.
Tom Hanks already knows the Kneepjes from the busines already from Saturday Night Live offcours ...but has nothing to do with the movie ! In this movie he plays Steven Gold who learns Lilah the kneepjes from Comedy ...in between he falls in love a bit and Lilah becomes better in her performences ! Funny at times , yes ! SOMDVD
big Sally Field fan!!!
The drama was good but the comedy was not.
Punchline n'est rien de plus qu'une sympathique comédie dramatique sur le monde méconnu des comédiens de stand-up qui jouent leurs routines dans des bouges pourris. David Seltzer a l'intelligence de ne pas trop appuyer sur l'embryon de romance entre Tom Hanks et Sally Field (comme d'habitude excellente) et de se concentrer plutôt sur la vie de famille de cette dernière, avec l'impeccable John Goodman en second rôle. Pas souvent drôle mais assez touchant, Punchline est quand même un film qui manque cruellement d'ambition et qui dure au moins 20 minutes de plus qu'il ne le devrait, ce qui le fait tirer en longueur dans le dernier acte, convenu.
A moderately hard-edged drama about the private and public lives of comedians, with a special emphasis on the desperate lengths they'll go to for a laugh, or to get an edge on the competition. Sally Field is the focal figure, a mousey housewife who feels destined for greatness but can't locate her own voice, while Tom Hanks plays a big supporting role as a natural performer who's an irresponsible, selfish a-hole behind the scenes. It's an uneven picture that doesn't really click for a number of different reasons. Primary among them is this unspoken sense that a movie about comedians should be funny. Though the on-stage segments are indeed quite flat, big punchlines (if you'll forgive the pun) aren't really the point of this story. Less forgivable is the awkward, cloudy relationship between Hanks and Field that dominates the plot, and the constant shifts in tone from one scene to the next. I never got a real handle on where the film was going, what it wanted to be or to say. That writing jokes is hard, I guess? Sometimes the happiest guy in the spotlight is actually a poisonous, miserable bastard? A complicated, tentative take that's puzzling in its lack of a firm identity.
Punchline is a middling excuse for a movie. It may have helped Tom Hanks when he didn't have the star status he has now, but it is not any sort of gem or "great early movie" from hanks. In fact, I would go as far as to say I didn't really care for his performance in this movie; nor did I care for Fields', either.