Picks and Pans Review: 54
Ever wonder what would have happened to Tony Manero if the hero of Saturday Night Fever had strutted across the Brooklyn Bridge and tried out his dance moves at Studio 54? Wonder no longer. See 54, a deeply dumb movie about the late '70s heyday of Manhattan's most exclusive disco as seen through the eyes of a Tony Manero-type guy (Phillippe) who becomes a busboy at the club and then—hang on to your corporate flow chart—is promoted to bartender. Phillippe's blond naif starts out working-class in New Jersey, but in less time than it takes to learn the hustle, he is snorting coke, bedding rich babes (one of whom purrs at him, "You have the body of David and a face by Botticelli"), flirting with men and posing for beefcake shots in Interview magazine. Is this life empty and meaningless? You bet. Will he find out before it's too late? It's way too late, if not for him, at least for viewers, right from 54's earliest scenes.
The only reason to see 54, haplessly written and directed by first-timer Mark Christopher (with help from studio higher-ups, who insisted he recut and reshoot much of the film), is for Myers's deliciously smarmy turn as a stoned-out, lecherous Steve Rubell, the disco's co-owner. (R)
Bottom Line: The title reveals the movie's IQ