Soapdish

1991

Soapdish

Critics Consensus

Soapdish may not be as addictive as the serialized dramas it's spoofing, but a talented cast helps make this affectionate sendup feel fresh.

69%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 36

63%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 8,817
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Movie Info

In the comedic farce Soapdish, the behind-the-scenes lives of several soap opera actors are just as melodramatic as those of their television counterparts. Sally Field stars as Celeste Talbert, the star of a declining TV show. To make matters worse, Talbert's career is thrown into turmoil when her rival, Montana Moorehead (Cathy Moriarty), tries to persuade producer David Barnes (Robert Downey Jr.) to write Talbert off the show. Smitten by Moorehead, Barnes comes up with a scheme to get Talbert off the show by hiring her niece Lori (Elisabeth Shue) and then Jeffrey (Kevin Kline), an old flame and cast member who was written out of the show 20 years prior. Soon, mayhem rules on the set as the cast and crew tangle, culminating in a special episode, broadcast live.

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Critic Reviews for Soapdish

All Critics (36) | Top Critics (10)

Audience Reviews for Soapdish

  • Feb 19, 2017
    I've honestly never understood the appeal of soap operas. At least the ways Americans do them, where they literally go on for fucking DECADES, with a revolving cast of characters. Repeating the same preposterous stories with only minor variations. Terrible overacting. I'm more familiar with Mexican soap operas. Trust me, they're just as bad, but, at the very least, their soap operas end up going for several months, episodes air five days a week. Or South Korean soap operas that only go one season which lasts 20 or so episodes. I think that's the best method, even though their style features a lot of melodrama, you have to come up with new stories every year. They may rely on some of the same storytelling tropes, but they still have to come up with new characters and situations to put them in. The American method is outdated and counterproductive. But the fact that the American soap operas being the way they are is what gives this movie its material to completely riff on the genre. Let's make no bones about it, this movie is in no way respectful to daytime soaps. It tears them a new one, quite frankly. Mocking them any chance they get. Whether it's the ridiculous stories, or the stars' self-inflated egos, to the conniving and undercutting of other stars in order to get a better spot on the show. So, in reality, hardcore soap fans should not ever, EVER watch this movie. Unless they have a sense of humor about some of the sillier aspects of their favored form of entertainment. But I think the movie does quite with focusing on the madness surrounding the soap, the behind-the-scenes machinations. This may not have been the best farce I've ever seen, but it's a pretty damn good one. But I'm also a little bit on the fence as to whether this is a really good 'good movie' or a really good movie. And I realize that that might not make sense to a lot of people, but it does to me. I just mean a movie that's good, but it's better than most every good movie you've ever seen. That's the easiest way I can explain it. Because, if I'm being honest, there are instances where this film is on fire when it comes to the satire. But I don't feel that it was consistently on fire to the point where I thought the film turned a corner. The movie really hits its stride once Jeffrey Anderson returns to the show he was forced out of 20 years ago by Celeste, the star. The movie is never bad prior to that point, as I do think it gets across how manic it must be to get one of the episodes of the show made what with all of the egos at play. Obviously, the film is gonna be prone to exaggeration, but I don't believe that writing and producing, not to mention dealing with actors and TV execs, daytime soap is easy or, quite frankly, enjoyable. Looks like it's more stress than it's worth. Then again, you could say that for any scripted television series, but I'm sure the problems are magnified when you air five days a week for decades on end. The film does capture some of that stress though, as I mentioned, in an exaggerated and infinitely more entertaining fashion. But, again, I just don't think the movie has the consistency it needed to turn it from a good movie to a really good one. The performances are great, though. Pretty much everyone in the cast kills it. I can't really single anyone out for praise because they're all great. So, at the very least, even if you don't end up liking the movie, you get to see some really talented actors cut loose and just have fun with the silliness of their roles and the overall narrative. Yes, I had my issues with this movie, and I've made them obvious, but I just had a lot of fun watching this even in spite of that. Of course, I'm not gonna ignore the problems under the hood just because I had fun watching it. I'm gonna point them out and say that, even with that, this is still a good movie and one I would easily recommend if you ever get the chance to see it.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Mar 20, 2013
    Soapdish has the talented actors but they aren't doing much here. It offers about as much entertainment as the soap operas that it satires.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Oct 16, 2011
    With the immense talent in front of the camera, Soapdish should be a sure-fire homerun. The only problem is its not. The why is harder to figure out. There are a plethora of storylines revolving around the behind-the-scenes antics of a soap opera. Each of the actors overacts the hell out of their parts. It's entirely possible the problem is the subject matter isn't all that funny-even to fans of soap operas-and the story itself is better suited to a half hour, television format. Every twist and turn happens entirely too quickly, especially the final revelations in a live show at the end (a live soap opera? Really?). There are a few legitimately laugh out loud moments, but most only require a knowing nod and a smile. That's not what the movie is going for...is it?
    Jason V Super Reviewer
  • Aug 10, 2011
    The show within a show concept is the thing here with the question being: isn't the business of making a show more interesting than the show itself? Played, as daytime television frequently does, larger than life ... the result is the guilty pleasure of this film. Fields and Kline are marvelous.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer

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