Cary and Irene (THE AWFUL TRUTH)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Modern Screwball Comedies: Soapdish (1991)

Feeling a bit nostalgic I was going through my old VHS movies and came across Soapsdish, the terrifically funny spoof of soap operas. So I decided to expand screwball cinema to include modern films every now and then that come close to resembling screwball comedies of the past. I think Soapdish more than qualifies with it's all star cast and laughs a minute. The story has reigning daytime queen Celeste Talbert (a super performance by Sally Field) who plays Maggie on the popular soap opera The Sun Also Sets. She has been at this for over two decades. And has a loyal fanbase but also has several enemies on the set. Such as Montana Morehead (the wickedly insane Cathy Moriarty) and producer David Barnes (a really young Robert Downey Jr.) who team up to drive Maggie from the show. These two connive and seek out former soap star Jeffrey Anderson (Kevin Kline) who once was on the show before Maggie had him fired. So they bring him back to cause some friction. Also throw in the mix Celeste's niece Lori (Elisabeth Shue) who becomes an overnight star on the show and also finds out about her family dynamics from Celeste. Whoopi Goldberg is on hand as Rose Schwartz (the show's head writer and Celeste's best friend). Soapdish is a really funny movie with so many jokes and farcial situations happening, you can't help but think of it as a screwball comedy. Sally Field has a terrific time playing Celeste as she plays the soap diva going a little bit crazy. Moriarty and Downey Jr make the perfect foils for her as they are constantly trying to drive her mad. Kevin Kline is solid as usual and Goldberg gets to shine in a pivotal role. Also stars Garry Marshall as the president of the network, Teri Hatcher as another actress and Kathy Najimy as an assistant. Plus loads of celebrity and actual soap stars cameos, Soapdish is a real treat. A true laugh fest.

Memorable quotes:

Celeste Talbert: David! David! David, David, David, David, David!
David Barnes: Hey, great scene with Bolt.
Celeste Talbert: I realize I'm not a young woman; however...
David Barnes: What do you mean, you're not...
Celeste Talbert: ...could you PLEASE point out to our new costume designer
[grabs her]
Celeste Talbert: whose name I don't quite have yet...
Tawny Miller: Tawny Miller, Miss Talbert.
Celeste Talbert: How do you do.
[to David]
Celeste Talbert: - that I don't feel quite right in a turban. What I feel like is GLORIA FREAKING SWANSON! What am I, 70, David? Am I 70? Why don't you just put me in a walker? Buy a goddamn walker and put me in it!
David Barnes: [to Tawny] You're fired.
Tawny Miller: Oh God.
David Barnes: I'm just kidding.
[into PA system]
David Barnes: Attention: no turbans for Miss Talbert!

Rose Schwartz: The guy was killed in an auto accident! I looked it up! He was driving in the Yukon, in a pink convertible, to visit his brother who's an ex-con named Frances, when a tractor trailer comes along and decapitates him. You know what that mean, it means he doesn't have a head. How am I suppose to write for a guy who doesn't have a head? He's got no lips, no vocal cords. What do you want me to do?

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