Romance, Comedy
IMDB rating:
Michael Hoffman
Kathy Najimy as Tawny Miller
Stephen Nichols as Himself
John Tesh as Himself
Leeza Gibbons as Herself
Paul Johansson as Blair Brennan / Bolt
Garry Marshall as Edmund Edwards
Elisabeth Shue as Lori Craven / Angelique
Robert Downey Jr. as David Seton Barnes
Kevin Kline as Jeffrey Anderson / Dr. Rod Randall
Teri Hatcher as Ariel Maloney / Dr. Monica Demonico
Whoopi Goldberg as Rose Schwartz
Cathy Moriarty as Montana Moorehead / Nurse Nan
Sally Field as Celeste Talbert / Maggie
Storyline: Celeste Talbert has been the queen of the soaps for over two decades. Montana Moorehead needs to get her out of her way before she can move on and begins her program to get her to leave. She hires an old boyfriend of Celeste to be on the show and has Celeste become a murderer in the script, but each attempt has unforseen consequences.
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A Forgotten Comedy Classic
'Soapdish' is one of the best, yet least well remembered comedies of the 1990's. The film revolves around the various off-camera drama's that occur behind the scenes of a cheaply produced Daytime Soap Opera. The first of the film's various impressive strengths is it's fantastic A-List cast. 'Soapdish' features some of the greatest actors and actresses of it's era.

The film is superbly led by Sally Field, as the neurotic ageing actress Celeste Talbert (She famously throws a tantrum when put in a costume that makes her look like "Gloria F*CKING Swanson!"). Her supporting cast reads like a who's-who of 90's Movie Greats! Whoopi Goldberg, Robert Downey Jr, Teri Hatcher, Kevin Kline and Kathy Najimy all elevate the film greatly. Goldberg is predictably excellent, whilst Downey Jr.'s and Hatcher's performances hint at the comedic excellence they would later achieve.

In terms of writing, the film is outstanding. There is a really modern edge to the script, which strays into the wonderfully bizarre on several occasions. There also several visual gags that are quite ahead of their time. In some ways, the film is reminiscent of Mel Brooks at his best and frequently reminded this reviewer of 'High Anxiety' (1977). Much of the film's humour hinges on it's often scathing, but pretty accurate, representations of daytime television and of neurotic and pretentious actors. For example, The extras casting session featuring the exploitative executive played by Carrie Fisher, is both hilarious and honest.

'Soapdish' is, for my money, one of the very best comedies Hollywood produced during the 1990's. It's excellent script and A-Class cast make it a must-see. It's hard not to love this film after it's kept you laughing for 90 minutes.
Very funny
This is a romantic comedy with the emphasis on comedy for a change. As usual the lovers--Sally Field as almost-over-the-hill soap opera queen, Celeste Talbert; and Kevin Kline as marginally employed and marginally talented actor, Jeffrey Anderson--are working at cross purposes, seemingly unaware that they are madly in love, etc. Owing a little to Bette Davis's Margo Channing in All About Eve (1950) and a whole lot to the slapstick theatrical tradition, Sally Field goes over the top towards hilarity as she malaprops her way to love and happiness. Kevin Kline, one of the more underrated leading men of recent years, is also very good and very winning as he manages to be handsome, vulnerable, egotistical and lovable all at the same time.

The misadventures center around Celeste's fear of losing her audience as she has entered her forties, and reach the crisis point with the arrival of her niece, aspiring actress Cori Craven (Elisabeth Shue) who turns out NOT to be her niece, with ensuing plot complications. Cori manages to get a small part in the soap opera as a homeless deaf mute before discovering her true relationship to Celeste (and to Jeffrey Anderson as well)--but never mind.

As a romantic counterpoint or foil to the leads are Robert Downey Jr. (soap opera director, David Barnes) and Cathy Moriarty (Montana and Nurse Nan). David Barnes is oh so hot for her, but she cares only about one thing: getting rid of Celeste so that she might shine more brightly on the set. To this end she gets Barnes to do all sorts of things to wreck Celeste's career, but through happenstance and/or a perverse logic, all his attempts go awry, much to the delight of the viewer.

Whoopie Goldberg plays Rose Schwartz, the show's chief writer and Celeste's alter-ego and confidant while Carrie Fisher has a modest part as the hard-as-nails producer of the show.

I thought this was funnier than the only other spoof of the soap opera world that I have seen (Young Doctors in Love 1982 which burlesqued TV's General Hospital and was pretty good). Soapdish is funnier with a daffy script and plenty of laugh-out-loud one-liners and terrific performances by Field, Kline and Downy, Jr. But see this for Sally Field who is outstanding.

(Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get it at Amazon!)
Best of the Best
It really is a shame that films like this never snag Best Picture nominations, because this one is simply a winner. This is by far the most consistently hilarious comedy I have ever seen. Its screenplay and design are impeccable, not to mention the incredible cast. I can quote this movie for hours on end. Watch it.
Genuinely funny movie
Soapdish may go down as one of the single most under-rated movies ever made.

A stellar, unselfish cast who understood exactly where the movie was going and the roles they played in it. While everyone hammed it up, there was no one-upmanship. Kline showed wit and great physical comedy, Goldberg and Downey knew how to carry on a funny conversation while someone else was talking, I could just go on.

Do not pass this movie by!
This one is worth it
It's funny. It's not Arthur Miller or T.S. Elliot, but man this is funny. Kline and Fields are great. (Her toss-off line "God, you are so disGUSting" as she climbs in his window - great! Kline's running into the door after scoping out Teri Hatcher - great too!) Robert Downey Jr. and Kathy Moriarty work together flawlessly - until he finds out who she really is... a soap opera turn if there every was one!

The scene near the end in the chinese dining area had my kids and I rolling on the floor - that scene alone is worth the rental price.

Doesn't solve any world problems or show the seemy underbelly of daytime T.V. (I hope). Just a lot of fun.
Day time TV send up
Very funny comedy from director Michael Hoffman and writer Robert Harling about a group of people whose 'soap opera' lives are more dramatic and interesting than the ones they portray in their daytime TV show, "The Sun Also Sets".

The whole huge cast, including Sally Field, Kevin Kline, Elisabeth Shue, Robert Downey Jnr, Carrie Fisher, Teri Hatcher, Garry Marshall, Kathy Najimy and Cathy Moriarty, play off each other well, producing some very funny moments, while Whoopi Goldberg is delightful. Not of the great script select, however "Soapdish" is all good fun as it sends up that institution of daytime T.V., soap opera!

Friday, October 18, 1991 - Knox District Centre
It dished out laughs in heaps
Excellent cast, amazing comic timing, hilarious situations yet humane emotions. Couldn't stop chucking and giggling throughout. I've always seen this movie in bits and pieces. Today, I got the chance to see the complete movie. What a gem! :D I revisited this movie mainly for Downey. Although he is a support character, he holds his own among the other heavyweights in the movie.

The plot is simple, an ambitious supporting actress wants to bump off the TV soaps long-time star. She comes up with a conniving plan and takes the help of the show's producer to execute her plan. But, she is in for a surprise when nothing goes as planned. "Soapdish" gives a glimpse of the personal dramas and life of the people in the TV world, and how easily the line between the reel & real can blur.

Nothing in this movie is remotely vulgar or obscene. It played safe yet the comedy is highly effective in evoking laughs. Brownie points for the actors to be able to pull this off with élan.
Good Clean Funny Movie
I don't watch soaps. My grandmother still watches that one with the hour glass. I made fun of them it when I was ten (it was so easy).

But this movie takes parody and spells it a new way. I found the story pretty damn funny. The fashions of the 80's - shoulder pads, sequins, and polyester - just top it off. The huge hair, the high heels, and the histrionics - what a combination.

And all the actors just go to town, chewing up their parts and spitting them out in a big well scripted pile. Sally, Kevin, Elisabeth - wonderful! Whoopi - great! Robert Downey - refreshing to see him back when he had such potential, before the tabloids. And Garry: why did we have to wait so long to see him on film? Leesa Gibbons - hadn't been missing her, but nice to include her as a real life entertainment reporter (and where do you apply for THAT job, anyway?).

Admittedly, I could have done without Sally climbing the drainpipe. Lucy Ricardo did it, how many times?, as has every comedienne from Carol Burnett to I don't know who and I'm so done with it now, I could spit peanuts if I had them. Apparently it's what you do when you're being funny in a tall building in New York. I'm just thankful they didn't pull out the flagpole bit.

But it was cute, it was funny, it had plot twists, it had an after credits ending before that was common, it had clothes worthy of a second glance, it had a great cast and it's got personal memories for me. Really, what more do you need?
Almodóvar Lite!
Watching Soapdish for the first time tonight I had an ever increasing sense of deja vu. I had seen this before - yet I knew I hadn't. It was all weirdly, strangely familiar but all new too. About half way through the film it clicked. I realised I was watching a Pedro Almodóvar film - made by Americans.

It's all there: the frantic over the top relentless pace, the rapid line delivery, the over-the-top emotion and outrageous plot twists played out with the subtlety of a daytime soap. Even the Almodóvar visual trademark of having a strong red element in frame wherever possible is on show.

I like Almodóvar's films. I didn't particularly like Soapdish. It lacked the edge that Almodóvar's films have, an edge that skirts, and often tips over into, downright vulgarity. His films are blatantly Soap Operatic but they are played straight. His films have contained all sorts of disturbing characters and situations: heroin-using nuns, people making (quite funny) jokes in the middle of a rape scene, carers having sex with their coma patients... the list goes on. Quite often in his films you find yourself laughing at things, or condoning things, which you KNOW you should find repellent but somehow... there you are... laughing.

It's what makes him such a great film maker.

At no point was anything even vaguely threatening or vulgar going to happen in Soapdish. It played safe. And strictly for laughs. Then, just to make sure, just in case the audience didn't get it, placed the grotesque soap operatics of the story into the setting of the studios of a daytime soap. Signalled to the audience as loudly as it could that this was not to be taken seriously and the style was deliberate. Corporate film making. They took the veneer of Almadovar's style - even the opening credits are familiar - and applied it wholesale to an acceptable fast-paced Hollywood farce.

The real thing is much better.
This dog should be soaped thoroughly and then washed down the drain
The writer of this drivel must have slipped on the Irish Spring while showering and cracked his noodle. The thing made no sense, it just rambled thoughtlessly about from one boring, asinine scene to the next. About as funny as finding a roach in your soup.