Punchline

  • 1988
  • Movie
  • R
  • Comedy

PUNCHLINE, the first major release to hit on this subculture of comedy clubs and struggling comedians, is both funny and sad. Tom Hanks plays Steven Gold, a callous down-and-out comedian who spends more time delivering routines than studying for medical exams. Lilah Krytsick (Sally Field) is a New Jersey housewife who tells dirty Polish jokes about her...read more

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PUNCHLINE, the first major release to hit on this subculture of comedy clubs and struggling comedians, is both funny and sad. Tom Hanks plays Steven Gold, a callous down-and-out comedian who spends more time delivering routines than studying for medical exams. Lilah Krytsick (Sally Field)

is a New Jersey housewife who tells dirty Polish jokes about her husband and even resorts to buying jokes on the black market. After 18 months in stand-up, Steven is broke, has been kicked out of his apartment and dropped from med school, and seems not to have any friends. Then he learns that

talent scout Madeline Urie (Kim Greist) is planning a television comedy contest, the winner of which will receive a guest shot with Johnny Carson. A surprisingly dark film, PUNCHLINE is a success because it doesn't try to glorify its surroundings. It presents instead a world in which far more get

laughed at than get laughs. Along with strong performances, the movie is brimming with "moments." Writer-director David Seltzer is not afraid to stop his narrative and let a scene linger. Although PUNCHLINE occasionally falters--in its contrived contest ending and saccharine tendencies--it is

still an engaging and honest achievement.

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  • Released: 1988
  • Rating: R
  • Review: PUNCHLINE, the first major release to hit on this subculture of comedy clubs and struggling comedians, is both funny and sad. Tom Hanks plays Steven Gold, a callous down-and-out comedian who spends more time delivering routines than studying for medical ex… (more)

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