54

SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER with designer drugs and duds. A shapeless homage to the glory that was Studio 54 in its decadent heyday, this soft-focus fantasy charts the progress of Jersey pump-jockey Shane O'Shea (Ryan Philippe), whose golden good looks get him past the velvet ropes and into the powder-blue satin shorts of a Studio bartender. In the wink of a glittering...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER with designer drugs and duds. A shapeless homage to the glory that was Studio 54 in its decadent heyday, this soft-focus fantasy charts the progress of Jersey pump-jockey Shane O'Shea (Ryan Philippe), whose golden good looks

get him past the velvet ropes and into the powder-blue satin shorts of a Studio bartender. In the wink of a glittering eye, Shane is dispensing drinks, drugs and sexual favors to the rich and famous, all beneath the watchful gaze of capricious impresario Steve Rubell (Mike Myers). Rumors of

recutting after preview audiences reacted negatively to first-time feature writer-director Mark Christopher's film leave open the possibility that he may once have realized something closer to his idea of a disco-era AMERICAN GRAFFITI. But as the movie stands, the attractive youngsters --

Philippe, plus Breckin Meyer, Salma Hayek and Neve Campbell, as, respectively, a discontented busboy, an aspiring singer/coat-check girl and an up-and-coming soap actress -- are defeated by their undeveloped characters, utterly overshadowed by Myers' show-stopping performance as the needy, druggy,

flamboyantly reckless Rubell (business partner Ian Shrager is conspicuous by his absence, perhaps because he's still alive and in a position to sue), who ruled his glitzy kingdom with a gold lamé fist. Aging Studio habitués may get a kick out of the movie's re-creation of countless nights beneath

the disco lights, the dance floor studded with faux Trumans and Andys and Halstons. And it plays right into the contemporary infatuation with fashions and attitudes of the '70s, which are in the process of being collectively reimagined as a shimmering era of sexual democracy and good drugs.

Perhaps there is a great movie to be made about the gilded excesses of New York's boogie nights, but it's neither this one nor THE LAST DAYS OF DISCO.

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