Punchline (1988)

R   |    |  Comedy, Drama, Romance

Punchline (1988) Poster

A medical school dropout and a housewife/mom try to make it as stand-up comedians. They become friends and help each other out at an NYC comedy club.




  • Tom Hanks in Punchline (1988)
  • Tom Hanks and Sally Field in Punchline (1988)
  • Tom Hanks and Sally Field in Punchline (1988)
  • Tom Hanks and Sally Field in Punchline (1988)
  • Tom Hanks in Punchline (1988)
  • Tom Hanks in Punchline (1988)

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25 February 2007 | moonspinner55
| Made by people with no sense of humor...
A 'dramedy' about stand-up comedy written and directed by David Seltzer, who shows no wistfulness or whimsy for show-biz--for him, it's all about the anxiety of getting a performance right. Tom Hanks has acting talent to spare, yet he does not possess the right timing to be convincing as a stand-up comic (he's all fired up, but he's firing blanks). Sally Field fares somewhat better as a housewife/amateur comedienne who looks to Tom for advice and finds herself a little smitten; her routine on-stage isn't convincing either, but Field's gumshun saves her (she's likable despite the character being a cut-out). John Goodman (as Field's husband) has made a career out of playing down-to-earth, amiable guys; though he's unable to really shine with this shallow material, his low-keyed, self-effacing acting style brings out the best in Seltzer's formulaic impulses--he's the most pleasant part of the film. The writing is so purposefully sour, one squirms through the jokes as much as through the drama. The movie's main purpose is to show us the dark side of comedy...but who wants to see that? *1/2 from ****

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