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Overall Rating
2.45

Awesome: 4.49%
Worth A Look: 12.36%
Average: 23.6%
Pretty Bad42.7%
Total Crap: 16.85%

7 reviews, 47 user ratings


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54
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Not worth getting into."
2 stars

If you never made it to the famous New York hot spot Studio 54 during its heyday, you might be drawn to see "54" to find out what the fuss was about.

According to those who got in, the place itself wasn't nearly as impressive as the status of getting in -- the honor of being stylish and fabulous enough to be judged worthy of entrance. Well, now that any of us with a Netflix account can get into 54, the club stands revealed as what it was: a glitzy playpen for trendoids, wannabes, and campy celebrities. Let me pause for a minute to think of a more boring subject for a movie .... Sorry. I give up.

If Boogie Nights was all sizzle and no steak, 54 is neither steak nor sizzle -- it's just an empty plate. Writer-director Mark Christopher, who previously contributed a segment to the gay anthology Boys Life 2, certainly plays up the overt homo-eroticism of the place -- the ripe young men swaggering around shirtless, the women stuck in ghastly height-of-1979-fashion wigs and outfits that made them look like drag queens. Christopher presents the hedonism (the cocaine, the open copulation in the balcony) without judgment, yet he's wedded the true story of Studio 54 to a fictional story that lacks the conviction to be moralistic. Once again, a young innocent (Ryan Phillippe, making Mark Wahlberg look like Olivier) is lured into sex and drugs, and once again everyone parties hard until a death during the New Year 1980 bash foretells the death of an era. Any of this sound familiar?

Shane O'Shea (Phillippe) starts at 54 as a busboy, then works his way up to bartending -- the primo job, where you can schmooze with powerful players and top models. Are we supposed to care whether this blank-faced kid makes it? Shane befriends a young married couple -- fellow busboy Greg (Breckin Meyer) and his wife Anita (Salma Hayek), who dreams of being a singer. Shane is also fixated on Julie Black (Neve Campbell), a soap actress who wants to cross over into movies. So we have a bunch of low-level, obscure people deluding themselves that they're on the fast track to success -- again, any of this sound familiar? When I saw Boogie Nights , I never thought I would one day compare it favorably to even more derivative movies, but that was before I saw 54.

Mark Christopher has no apparent feelings for his chosen milieu (the movie was shot on a Toronto soundstage), and I never figured out how he felt about Steve Rubell, the effusive ringmaster of 54. Stretching his legs in his first dramatic role, Mike Myers does what he can with a shallow conception, but Rubell remains remote and unknowable right to the end (as he was, perhaps, in life). We don't know whether we're supposed to take Rubell as a nurturing party boy or as a corrupt little bastard who promotes his male staff in exchange for sexual favors. This inconsistency, and a lot more in the movie, may be due to severe pre-release trims (the distributor, Miramax, is famously scissors-happy). Or it may be due to the script, which, judging from what's left, was never particularly focused or insightful.

If a mitigating director's cut surfaces on DVD, I promise to apologize. [EDIT: Such a DVD has yet to present itself. Therefore I have yet to apologize. However, as of late 2008 a director's cut has been shown and praised.] But I think I'm safe in my bewildered contempt for this film. 54 doesn't give you the highs or lows of the dying disco age; it's just a series of hackneyed scenes that make Boogie Nights look like a model of originality.

If you go to this movie wondering what the fuss at Studio 54 was about, you'll still wonder about it when the movie is over.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=51&reviewer=416
originally posted: 12/30/06 03:02:07
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell dull & sleazy 1 stars
2/20/14 Wayne This film was HEAVILY edited before it came out--that's why it makes no sense. 1 stars
6/27/10 PAUL SHORTT DREARY, BLEAK DRAMA 1 stars
12/28/05 Jeff Anderson Mike Myers' performance is the ONLY great thing in this cliched & anachronistic fiasco! 1 stars
5/22/05 Cham Boring. 1 stars
9/18/03 Samuel Justus Why didnt they make a 'Waynes World 3' ?? oh why... 3 stars
6/08/03 james what the hell was this movie about? 1 stars
4/25/03 mr. Pink Ugh, where's the story, the glamour, the glitz, the sex. Where's everything !? 1 stars
3/21/03 May Q. Horney Bad news: MM& SH most forgettable I ever saw them. Good news: NC&RP were likewise. 2 stars
3/02/02 Alan Smithee Mike Myers performance was great, and Neve was hot, but the movie blew chunks. 2 stars
2/01/02 Andrew Carden Worth Watching For Good Performances and Retrospective On The Club. 4 stars
9/03/01 Butterbean This movie didn't bother dramatizing how the REAL celebrities partied at 54? Fuck that! 2 stars
8/07/01 Mr. Hat Mike Myers is good. Other than that, this movie sucks donkey penises. 2 stars
4/01/01 Jesse L Boogie Nights was stupid soft porn...this is just stupid 1 stars
3/06/01 Jake I found it entertaining and much more enjoyable than Boogie Nights 4 stars
11/28/00 Cristopher Revilla watch this if your horny, if your intelligent, dont watch this shit 1 stars
10/21/00 Terrie Smith Nothing really to get excited about; Campbell & Myers make the most of it. 3 stars
5/27/00 Elvisfan I was born the same place & year as Shane & moved to NYC when he did 4 stars
3/10/00 Kyle Broflovski Meyers redeems it somewhat...I just wanted to eviscerate Phillipe, and that's not like me. 3 stars
2/12/00 Lame-Oh Neve and Myers were great. The rest was garbage. 2 stars
11/05/99 Anthony Ellis This movie was a poorly-crafted mess. No character development. Woefully awful!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
9/05/99 Elizaveta hahahahahahahaHA. 1 stars
7/19/99 Chef ADogg Watery...perked up whenever Neve or Myers was on screen 2 stars
5/10/99 Ah Dooey A poor, unnecessary rehash of Boogie Nights and Grease 2 stars
4/11/99 Tristynn I just about died with boredom...stupid, dumb, a no brainer and dull,,,, 2 stars
3/14/99 Love Donkey Beyond rotten 1 stars
3/08/99 CanadianChica I loved it, i felt like dancing afterwards. Besides, Phillippe is nothing to frown upon. 5 stars
10/31/98 Bad Kosh Is it some kind of disco shit or does it get any worse? 2 stars
10/24/98 Vick Di Brecci A poor, unnecessary remake of Boogie Nights 2 stars
10/18/98 natalie It was alright. Neve Campbell 3 stars
10/13/98 grunter disco scrubbed clean for "hets" and the "family values" crowd - lies, all lies. 1 stars
9/28/98 John Hawkins I hate disco but I really loved this movie! 5 stars
9/27/98 The Canadian Beaver Eh Sherry Stringfield can suck my dick anytime!! 5 stars
9/24/98 Red02 OK I know it wasn't supposed to be but it was hillarious to me! 4 stars
9/20/98 katherine igo 2 see neve. shes in it 4 2 secs. the rest was ppl siting around smoking dope. big wow. 2 stars
9/15/98 Gamma Mike Myers was AWESOME. Proves he can do drama 3 stars
9/15/98 jhanu the het-washing of disco continues 2 stars
9/15/98 zeek pretty lacklustre but worth it to watch salma hayek ;-) 3 stars
9/14/98 Keith Griffith Did I misunderstand recent history? Wasn't disco something to do with gay people? 1 stars
9/14/98 Chip Taylor Myers ... stick to comedy. You're a nobody and a stranger in the world of dramatic movies 2 stars
9/13/98 Daniel Eskin Stunk like an old goat after being puked on 2 stars
9/09/98 Young Einstein Breckin Meyer rules the school. Ryan Phillipe is a nobody. 3 stars
9/05/98 Marsha It sucks! Ryan Philippe sucks more. Neve is alright. 1 stars
8/31/98 edicius 54...the only movie where you get to hear Mike Myers say, "I want to suck your cock." 4 stars
8/29/98 Miss Stress Drugs and Disco....do we really wanna remember polytester suits and the bustop????? 3 stars
8/28/98 Mister Whoopee I really liked it, but I'm a disco-freak. Myers was great. A real departure for him. 5 stars
8/14/98 {{{OZ}}} I forget 3 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  28-Aug-1998 (R)
  DVD: 06-Jul-2004

UK
  N/A

Australia
  12-Nov-1998 (M)




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