Showboy

Hollywood fact and movie fiction merge in this warm and winning "fact-ion" film that hangs all the trappings of a documentary onto a fictional, "what-if" premise. This much is true: British-born Christian Taylor really is a writer-producer for the critically acclaimed HBO series Six Feet Under, who, at a more desperate point in his fledgling career, really...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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Hollywood fact and movie fiction merge in this warm and winning "fact-ion" film that hangs all the trappings of a documentary onto a fictional, "what-if" premise. This much is true: British-born Christian Taylor really is a writer-producer for the critically acclaimed HBO series Six Feet Under, who, at a more desperate point in his fledgling career, really did consider becoming a Vegas showboy. The rest of the story is fiction, but it's the kind of movie-make-believe that reveals some tart truths about show business. Co-writer and -director Taylor proceeds from a simple premise: What if that road to the Vegas stage, briefly considered but never taken, somehow became a new career path? The execution is a bit more complicated. "Christian Taylor" is on the Six Feet Under set in Vegas when he's contacted by an English TV director, Lindy (co-director Lindy Heymann, a real-life filmmaker who, like many people in the film, is playing a fictionalized version of herself), who's working on a BBC entertainment series focusing on Brits in Hollywood. Taylor agrees to a series of interviews, completely unaware that his apparently thriving career is headed for a nosedive: Six Feet Under's creator, Alan Ball (gamely playing himself), has been consistently unhappy with Taylor's scripts and summarily fires him. Crushed and embarrassed, Taylor ditches Lindy and hunkers down in Vegas, intent on fulfilling a dream he's harbored for years: taking the stage as a dancer in a lavish revue — a showboy. When Lindy, who knows all about Taylor's reversal of fortune, finally tracks him down, she finds Taylor living at the home of an aging showboy friend (Erich Miller) and refusing to admit he was fired. He insists the show has wrapped for the season and he's decided to hang around Vegas and research a movie script on which he's been working. Pressured by her producer (Marilyn Milgrom) to get this down-and-dirty tale of Hollywood disillusionment on tape, Lindy convinces Taylor to allow her crew to follow him around Vegas as he pursues his dream. The film we're watching, purportedly assembled from Lindy's footage but actually a mockumentary directed by Heymann and Taylor, follows Taylor's screen persona as he goes from casino floorwalker to auditioning for a male strip revue to... well, you'll have to watch and see. Taylor, who's told time and again that he too small to become a real Vegas showboy, has a wonderfully dry wit and makes for a very charismatic hero, while Joaquin Baca-Asay's cinematography captures all the glitz and slightly tawdry glamour of the Vegas strip. Cameos include appearances by Siegfried and Roy and Whoopi Goldberg, who, while pushing Taylor to audition for something called "Boy-lesque," utters the line that could well stand as the film's moral: "No dream is crazy if you want to live it."

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  • Released: 2004
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Hollywood fact and movie fiction merge in this warm and winning "fact-ion" film that hangs all the trappings of a documentary onto a fictional, "what-if" premise. This much is true: British-born Christian Taylor really is a writer-producer for the critical… (more)

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