Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Bowfinger Movie Poster Image
Entertaining, great actors but not a home run.
  • PG-13
  • 1999
  • 97 minutes

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 6 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.


Mild comic peril, some gross.


Many sexual references, character uses sex for professional advancement (played as humorous).



Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Social drinking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the movie has a number of sexual references. The character played by Heather Graham has (offscreen) sex with just about every other character (male and female) purely to advance her career. While this is played for humor, without any suggestion that she is being exploited (quite the other way around), parents may want to talk to kids who see this movie about this behavior, as well as the choices Bowfinger himself makes by cheating, stealing, blackmailing, and lying to get his movie made.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 9-year-old Written byDiscerning Parent January 6, 2013

Innocence preservation

A few too many references to sex. I think it better for kids to wait until they are little older to watch this one.
Parent of a 17-year-old Written byb mell January 5, 2013

read this and enjoy the movie

nothing sexual in it and a great movie!
Kid, 12 years old March 21, 2021

Wasn’t good really

Kinda dull Eddie Murphy and Steve Martin movie with quite a bit of language why does this “Expert” review say nothing in the language! They say one F-k, S-t, As... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old October 5, 2018

Hilarious Murphy Movie Covers Film-Making

This Murphy movie, though having a less jokes per second ratio, is a movie that's worth the watch, and what I love about it is that I'm watching a mov... Continue reading

What's the story?

Bobby Bowfinger (Steve Martin) wants desperately to make a movie, and as he approaches his 50th birthday he thinks he is running out of time. He tries to interest a studio executive in a script called "Chubby Rain," written by an accountant, and is told the studio will make the movie IF Bowfinger can get Kit Ramsey, Hollywood's biggest action star, to agree to appear in it. When Ramsey (Eddie Murphy) won't even look at the script, Bowfinger decides to go ahead and make the movie around him, just filming him wherever he is without telling him anything about it. Bowfinger takes his $2184 lifetime stash and gets started, with the help of a studio gofer who borrows the equipment (Jamie Kennedy), a very theatrical stage actress (Christine Baranski), and an ambitious ingenue literally just off the bus from Ohio (Heather Graham), who plans to become a star in one week. They set up the camera wherever Ramsey is going to be, and just stage the various scenes around him.

Is it any good?

BOWFINGER has some very funny moments but is oddly low-key, from its slow set-up of the premise to its lack of follow-through on some of the comic possibilities. Some of the humor may be too inside for those who do not follow Hollywood gossip. Watching Martin, Murphy, Baranski, and Graham -- all in fine form here -- is reason enough to see any movie, but in this case the script (written by Martin) is not as strong as it could have been.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what kind of movie could be made by filming family members as they go about their daily lives.

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love comedy

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate