STUDIO BOSS: Here's Another Fine Mess You've Gotten Us Into, Tucci!
One cannot fault Stanley Tucci's acting,
he is one of the greats of our era, but in writing, he clearly has no ability.
In this venture, his "gift of the gab" has persuaded someone with cash to waste
it on what has written been clearly written to be a show case for his own talent.
Set in the 1920's,
two destitute actors, Maurice (Oliver Platt) and Arthur (Stanley Tucci) come to
blows with Sir Jeremy Burton, (Alfred Molina) another thespian who is undertalented
and overrated. Escaping from the Police, they inadvertently find themselves onboard
a luxury liner where they meet a whole host of misfits, many of them impostors with
dastardly plans including an anarchist officer Voltri (Tony Shalhoub) who wants to
blow up the ship, a suicidal entertainer called Mr Happy Franks (Steve Buscemi) and
an undercover agent who is trying to kidnap his queen (Isabella Rossellini).
With this whole host of stereotypes,
Tucci tries to recreate the golden era of silent humour, those glorious flicks with
Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin. Teaming up with Oliver Platt, he hopes to revive
the spirit of Laurel and Hsrdy, but falls seriously short of the mark. Much of the
humour of Laurel and Hardy was ad-libbed. In their work, an ever optimistic jazz band
would frantically play on in the background, totally out of step with the plot as the
two would drift sublimely into catastrophe, so obvious that you, the audience, want to
cry out. Tucci, however, has built "The Impostors" out of a number of stilted set pieces,
albeit some well made, including one with Woody Allen who appears as a theatre manager,
but slopes off quickly, no doubt to call his agent for dumping him in this tripe.
Despite some great 1920's costumes
and formal wear by Lord West to die for, the atmosphere is nearly non-existent with
amongst the worst set design of all time. Not only is ttere no pitch and roll of the
ship, but it all looks totally phoney and it is obvious that they only used one single
bedroom suite to represent all the various passenger's cabins. When the camera pulls
back to reveal the ship is a stage set in the end titles, it is no surprise to anyone,
nor it is its ultimate demise at the box office. Backed by some great jazz music, true
effort by Tucci wrenches it off the seabad of naught out of ten (when rounded up), but
across the USA, the film grossed barely $2.2million. After his supporting cast has been
coaxing us to press the eject button on the DVD-player for 101 minutes, Tucci clearly
still has yet to learn what the rest of us all know. Silent movies were only short and
are seen today in the form only of clips for a good reason - after 30 minutes the jokes
really, really over.
A Real Suckie From Stanley Tucci
Film Critic:Robert L Thompsett