54 (1998)

54 is a snore.  The year's second movie set at the famous New York 
nightclub-- after Whit Stillman's superior THE LAST DAYS OF DISCO-- 
suffers on several fronts.  The biggest loss is the lead, Ryan 
Phillippe, an utter non-presence as the Jersey kid whose baby face 
and buff bod gets him into the club and, later, lands him a job as 
busboy.  (He looks good and that's about it.)  As the married cou-
ple that Shane (!) both lives and works with, co-stars Brecklin 
Meyer and Salma Hayek come off a little bit better.  (At least they 
can act.)  Truth be told, the only person here even *intermittenly* 
interesting is Mike Myer's Steve Rubell.  (The club's owner.)  He 
doesn't have a whole lot of screen time, though, and even then it 
takes at least half the film to forget any SNL or Austin Powers as-
sociations.  Yeah, baby.  Other players include Sela Ward, Heather 
Matarazzo (as Shane's sister), and a surprisingly sweet Neve Camp-
bell.  The credits also list a mess of celebrities, none of whom I 
was able to spot.  I must've been watching my watch.  Written and 
directed by Mark Christopher.  (Rated "R"/95 min.)

Grade: C-

Copyright 1998 Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies as MOVIE HELL: August 29, 1998

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