Why the poor box office performance? Why the bad reviews? Why the bad word of mouth? I really didn't see anything horrible about this movie! First of all, it's a character-driven story. There's little subplots involving jealousy and philandering, but it's not handled in a soapy fashion. I didn't feel any of the characters were one-dimensional.
Of course, Mike Myers steals the show as the homosexual club owner Steve Rubell. I don't know the real Steve Rubell, so you be the judge whether or not his performance was accurate, but I have to say that Myers did an incredible job! And I'm not overstating the least bit! You watch him in this movie and you totally forget that this is the same guy who played Austin Powers. Not to say I didn't realize Myers had talent prior to watching this film. He has definitely proven that he has talent as a comic actor, but I didn't know he had the chops to pull off a straight, dramatic role. Even his accent sounds real, not the least bit phony. I'm surprised Myers didn't even get an Oscar nod. He should've at least gotten the nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Trust me--you will be blown away by his performance in this movie!
The music is great. It's always great to reminisce to the great songs from the seventies. Mark Christopher nicely captured the whole rebellious atmosphere of 54. We're given a taste of the drug addiction and even the sexual promiscuity that made the place famous--there's a scene where a couple shamelessly pounds away on the balcony. I read one person's review, saying that this movie should've been an hour longer. I find it ironic that people watch movies that are two and a half to three hours long and complain, "Oh, this movie dragged! Oh, this movie needed more editing!" Yet they watch a succintly timed film like this and complain it's too short. This may not have been the most thorough examination of the famous nightclub, but I think it got to the point. No reason why we have to go into every tiny detail.
This is a serious, dramatic film but it's also very entertaining. I actually had a smile on my face when the movie ended. It ended on a happy note without having that forced, schmaltzy Hollywood feel. Plus, I really like that song "Knock on Wood" that they played over the credits.
My score: 7 (out of 10)