54 (1998)

R   |    |  Drama, Music


54 (1998) Poster

The famous 1970s New York City nightclub seen and told through the eyes of a young employee.

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5.8/10
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  • Ryan Phillippe in 54 (1998)
  • Seymour Cassel at an event for 54 (1998)
  • Freddie Prinze Jr. at an event for 54 (1998)
  • David Chokachi and Michael Bergin at an event for 54 (1998)
  • Neve Campbell in 54 (1998)
  • Erika Alexander at an event for 54 (1998)

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12 February 2012 | moonspinner55
5
| Superficial and awkward, but with a pleasurable, hedonistic nostalgia...
Writer-director Mark Christopher worked hard at recreating the sinfully decadent magic of Manhattan's Studio 54, the number-one celebrity hangout from the late-1970s into the 1980s, but he skimped on the most intriguing part of the nightclub's history: the relationship between business partners Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager. Mike Myers was a terrific choice for the flamboyant, eccentric Rubell, but Schrager has gone missing. Instead, the story is told from the point-of-view of a busboy-turned-bartender (!), a muscular rube whose innocence is soiled by boss Rubell's dirty business dealings and hedonistic trappings. The film has a low-budget feel which doesn't make itself present in the production so much as in the character-driven scenes, which are underpopulated, padded with real and faked black-and-photos, and further undermined by stilted dialogue. Ryan Phillipe is well-cast as the young stud from New Jersey whom Rubell takes under his wing, yet his voice-over narration is uncomfortably omnipresent, telling us things we can see or perceive for ourselves, and the interrelationships between the club staff are uninteresting. Some of the music is good, bringing back those long-ago nights of carefree sex and dancing-the-night-away, but Christopher doesn't grasp the big picture. As a result, the film (at best) is a series of precious little moments struggling to surface. ** from ****

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