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THE IMPOSTORS

 
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At Theaters: 10/2/1998 On Video: 5/18/1999
Rated: R Length: 1 hr. 42 min.
Internet: Web Site Movie ID: 109817
Studio: Fox Searchlight
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Storyline Heading

Arthur and Maurice are two down-and-out Depression-era actors who want nothing more than to find the perfect roles. Arthur is thin and verbose - a passionate man who literally lives to die, hoping someday to perform a death scene worthy of international renown. Maurice is stout, impulsive and given to occasional excesses, but as devoted to Arthur as he is to his acting career.

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DETAILED STORYLINE
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Movie Type (Genre) Heading
Comedy - A real throwback to the screwball farces of the '30s, '40s, and '50s, The Impostors is a delightfully comic treat for those in search of physical humor that's a little less gross than what's offered by There's Something about Mary.
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Cast and Crew Heading
Wri/Dir/Actor: Stanley Tucci (Big Night)
Oliver Platt (Doctor Dolittle)
Isabella Rossellini (Big Night)
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Production Notes Heading
The Director
The Cast
The Production
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Content Heading
PROFANITY: Infrequent but severe.
SEX/NUDITY: Mild -- one offscreen sex scene. No nudity.
VIOLENCE: Mild and cartoonish.
DRUGS/ALCOHOL: Social drinking.
ACTION: A lot of comic running around.
COMEDY: Comedy of the physical, verbal, and visual sorts.
DETAILED CONTENT
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Critic's Review Heading
Good
The Impostors is retro in almost every sense of the word. The only thing '90s about the movie are the actors, and the fact that the film stock is in color. The script and style hearken back to the early days of the motion picture industry. Savvy film-goers will recognize more than a little of the Marx Brothers, Charlie Chaplin, and Buster Keaton in the director's sophomore effort (Tucci, along with Campbell Scott, who has an acting role here, co-helmed the art house smash, Big Night). This is the first screwball comedy in years that actually works, and that's mainly because Tucci hasn't tried to update the genre for a "modern" audience. Instead, he has crafted this film exactly as it might have been made 50 years ago. And, for those who want to look even further back into motion picture history, the opening sequence, which is done entirely without sound, is the director's homage to the great silent farces of the '20s.

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DETAILED CRITIC'S REVIEW
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OPINION OVERVIEW
The following is the original "What's Worth Watching" write-up for this movie.

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D ETAILED S TORYLINE
Arthur (Stanley Tucci) and Maurice (Oliver Platt), two unemployed actors turned luxury cruise stowaways. It all begins as Arthur and Maurice face hunger, unemployment and a maritally challenged theater producer. Their only ambition in the world is a chance to act -- a chance at the biggest, boldest performance of their lives -- but fate has not brought them any opportunities. Until now.

As actors, Arthur and Maurice are always pretending to be who they are not. In an attempt to stave off hunger, they plot to finagle free pastries from a local baker with a grand performance which ultimately ends not with free sweets but with two tickets to the theater for a performance of Hamlet starring the phenomenally successful and thoroughly nauseating thespian Jeremy Burtom (Alfred Molina). In an after-theater lounge, a confrontation between the duo and their least favorite actor in the world occurs. Wrongly accused of physically abusing the over-wrought and under-talented Burtom, Arthur and Maurice find themselves pursued not by big-time directors but by the law.

A narrow escape from the cops lands them in a packing crate aboard a cruise ship. But, this is no ordinary ship. On board is a plotting revolutionary, deposed royal, illicit lover, suicidal singer, wealthy sheik, gold-digging mother, grim-hearted daughter, sadistic suitor and pretentious performer -- none other than Jeremy Burtom. Nowhere could be more suited to Arthur and Maurice's unique blend of undercover skills and overzealous hearts.

As Arthur and Maurice attempt to remain incognito -- with the help of irrepressible head stewardess Lily (Lili Taylor) -- they find themselves caught up in a loopy world of ingenues and intrigue, not to mention caught in supply closets, under beds and repeatedly in the wrong rooms, witnessing all sorts of underhanded shenanigans.

But, at last they find themselves with their long-awaited opportunity to act, in both meanings of the phrase. It seems the ship is about to blow up, a tragedy that could well lead to war, mayhem and a very premature and too real death scene for Arthur. Yet if Arthur and Maurice can out-perform the many posers and pretenders on board they might just have a chance to save the ship . . . and their own belief that they can play and maybe even be, dramatic heroes.

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