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Punchline [Import]

Sally Field , Tom Hanks , David Seltzer    R (Restricted)   VHS Tape
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Product Description

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At the height of the standup-comedy boom of the 1980s, this film offered the revelation that many comedians were, in fact, rather psychologically unstable individuals for whom performing was an outlet for hostility and aggression. Wow--who would have guessed? This film focuses on two who meet and forge an unlikely friendship: Tom Hanks plays a caustic, self-destructive comic looking for his big break and Sally Field plays a more Roseannelike comedian who begins neglecting her husband (John Goodman) and children because she gets such a kick out of performing. The offstage stuff is strictly soap opera, but Hanks and Field both develop solid comedic rhythms once they get behind a microphone. --Marshall Fine

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars So funny I almost lost bladder control. July 11 2003
Format:DVD
Watch for the scene where Field is in a big hurry to get ready for houseguests. You'll be rolling on the floor.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Underrated, almost brilliant, but flawed June 19 2002
Format:VHS Tape
Punchline begins with an engaging premise. Steven Gold (Tom Hanks at age 31) is a med student driven by his physician father to become a doctor. But Steven hates medical school, can't stand the sight of blood, etc. Instead of going to class, he goes to the local comedy club (The Gas Station). Instead of doing his homework, he does standup. He's very good. Lilah Krytsick (Sally Field at 42) is a frumpy Jersey housewife with three kids and a husband (John Goodman) who sells insurance. He wants her to stay home nights, but she has a passion for wanting to make people laugh. So she too moonlights at The Gas Station. She is not funny. In desperation she spends five hundred dollars of household funds to buy jokes to use on the audience. Everything bombs.
Meanwhile, Steven is a little behind in his rent and thinks that, what the hey, he can sell Lilah some jokes. But it never comes to that. Instead he becomes enchanted with her and helps her break free of her inhibitions and perform naturally and effectively on stage. Can true love be far behind? (Rhetorical question, but the answer is not pat.)
If you are a Tom Hanks fan, see this movie. You will be delighted. He puts on a versatile performance depicting a guy who needed to be, in the very fiber of his being, a comedian. The role shows off his talent, and makes us understand why he is now, at the relatively young age of 45, one of America's premiere screen idols.
The rest of the movie, however, is a mix of strengths and weaknesses. Sally Field, in a difficult role, gives an uneven performance which I think is partly the fault of director David Seltzer, who also wrote the script. His direction is brilliant and awful by turns. In particular the schmaltzy, unnecessarily unrealistic ending is very disappointing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars EXTREMELY UNDERRATED! May 27 2002
Format:DVD
This is such a good movie! Tom Hanks plays a promising, self - destructive comic with emotional problems, and gives an OSCAR-CALIBUR PERFORMANCE! I have been a huge fan of Hanks since Bosom Buddies, but this was the film which made me realize just how great he is! It actually came out about the same time as "Big", which Hanks was nominated for, and I never understood why this film got slighted. Check it out, and see the first sign of the greatness to come in "Philledelphia" and Forest Gump"!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Tom Hanks looks so young! Jan. 23 2001
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
I caught this film on HBO or Showtime the other night, after not having seen it in years and I have to say that it's better than I remembered it. I totally loved the non-standup comedy details of the film- Hanks making comments about "going under" as he tries in vein to clean himself up before going onstage after not having taken a shower in awhile due to the fact that he's been kicked out of his apartment, Sally Field's portrayol of a woman wanting more in her life than just motherhood, etc. You really get the feeling that these are real people with dreams and you want to root for them, hoping that they'll "make it". I found myself getting nervous before each of their stand up performances. Anyway, great film, highly recommended.
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3.0 out of 5 stars It's more than a film on comedy club Oct. 11 1999
By BM
Format:VHS Tape
Chaplin said comedy is tragedy plus time. I love the character Tom Hanks plays, a medical student who fears blood and would not have opted for learning in surgery but for his parental instructions. What really moves me is not the lines (they are funny) but the philiosophy the whole film brings out - be yourself, always.
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