Review by: Jennifer Brooks
This is a smart, funny, fast paced comedy. Lots of movies that just plain suck are tagged “comedies” in attempts to trick people into watching them. This isn’t one of them; Soapdish is the real deal. It’s great the first time around and has a very high repeat viewing value.
Celeste Talbert (Sally Field) is America’s Sweetheart, the perpetual on-screen victim with a heart of gold, and the star of soap opera The Sun Also Sets. Celeste is also in the crosshairs of the dangerous and determined Montana (Cathy Moriarty) and shamelessly whipped David (Robert Downey Jr.).
Behind the scenes simmers with treacherous plotting and betrayal – until Celeste’s “niece” is, unknown to Celeste, cast in the show as a deaf-mute homeless woman. Then the soap bubbles really start flying. When soapy story and volatile reality mix, they explode in a comedic, campy, melodramatic mess that will keep you laughing, groaning and happily glued to the screen.
What a cast! Just look at this list:
Sally Field hams it up as Celeste Talbert, “America’s Sweetheart”, a true soap star on- and off-screen.
Robert Downey Jr. (back when he was still a good actor) is David Seton Barnes, an amoral, obsessed producer who brings back Celeste’s long lost love in attempt to unhinge her.
Cathy Moriarty is Montana Moorehead, a flaming bitch in a nurse’s uniform who tears through the film, fangs flashing. (I like to think the Moorehead character is a tribute to Agnes Moorehead who played the absolutely fabulous Endora on Bewitched.)
Kevin Kline’s Shakespearean training can’t hide even in the guise of Jeffrey Anderson, a slimy has-been dinner theater actor. It’s great fun watching him learn to act like a real person.
Elizabeth Shue is Lori Craven, a determined yet untested actress. Shue is less flamboyant than many of her costars, but she has that innocent and vulnerable, yet mighty force of nature thing down pat.
Whoopi Goldberg is Rose Schwartz, the calm, confident head-writer of The Sun Also Sets, and best friend to Celeste Talbert. Rose’s dreads are coifed to perfection and her wardrobe rocks. She’s the only major player with both feet firmly on the ground.
Teri Hatcher, Kathy Najimy and Leeza Gibbons each get their turn in the spotlight, and they don’t waste it.
This movie has everything a good comedy should, and it’s obvious the writers, cast and crew had a blast. What’s not to like about this soap opera spoof? Grab some popcorn and get comfy; you won’t want to get up in the middle of this one. There’s even a transsexual twist (but I’ve said too much already!).
Repeat Viewing: High
This is one to keep in your personal collection.
Buddy Night: High
Good clean fun and nothing too-intimate-to-be-comfortable for just-friends company.
A real comedy that keeps you entertained.
Whoopi Goldberg, Bi: “There was a time I played on both sides of the street.
Now I just go straight down the middle of the street.”