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54 is dull , perfunctory , uninspired , and boring .
a greater writer might have created a lyrical sentence for each of those adjectives , flowing in lovely arangements with soaring metaphors .
i , however , would rather cut to the chase .
54 is dull , perfunctory , uninspired , and boring .
there is nothing in it -- not a glimpse of depth , nor a shimmer of intelligence or insight .
there is no electricity in any of the scenes , or a moment of interest in the story or its subplots .
and it's underdeveloped , and features an array of bland characters played by actors who think they're in this year's boogie nights .
they are so wrong .
the picture has been assembled by mark christopher .
based on this film , i don't know how he got a job in the business .
54 is supposed to be an amazing insight into the world of the dance club of the same name , which originated in the 70s and closed down in the 80s .
i don't know if this film went into production after boogie nights was released , but christopher has managed to plagiarize paul thomas anderson's brilliant work in every possible way , from the framework of the plot down to the style of the cinematography .
what it lacks is everything that made boogie nights great : depth , intelligence , energy , fascinating characters , and challenging themes .
54 can't even measure up to the last days of disco , which is flawed , but still smart and entertaining .
it's remarkably bad timing , i'd say , to release a film this tedious after a couple of noteworthy pictures of the same kind .
i have exaggerated , though : there is one interesting character , and one terrific performance .
that character is steve rubell , played with more perceptiveness by mike myers than this limp production deserves .
steve rubell is the owner of studio 54 , and if christopher had focused on him , then myers could have forced a good film out of this wreck all by himself .
alas , we are instead guided to endure the trials of a young man named shane ( ryan phillippe ) , a going-nowhere new jersey teen who gets a job in the club , thanks to rubell's homosexual impulses .
it's here that he meets his friends , the array of uninteresting characters : his co-worker , greg ( brecklin meyer ) , his wife , anita ( salma hayek ) , and , of course , the love interest , julie black ( neve campbell ) .
shane is just an innocent young fool in the beginning , and he has a reasonably sturdy home life .
( some of the scenes with his father border on interesting , while heather matarazzo , who plays his sister , pushes phillippe off the screen . )
but he decides to envelop himself in the disco scene , and succumb to peer pressure and to drugs .
why his " friends " push him into drugs is never really explained , but the fact that they are " friends " is questioned only is superficial ways ( greg gets really mad at shane because he's been elevated to bartender status ) .
there isn't a single conflict that takes center stage , except that shane has some kind of unexplored reservation with the business in which he works .
most of the film is dumb , and most of the dialogue is inane .
there's a scene late in the film in which shane confronts julie black , and , in the next scene , they're arm-in-arm without a bit of development .
then , they're kissing in a bowling alley !
this is five minutes of material , thrown into the picture at the last minute ( well past the one-hour mark , and this isn't a long film to begin with ) .
campbell is a talented actress , but she needs a role that gives her a little depth .
this one doesn't .
and phillippe has almost no presence whatsoever ; this performance pales in comparison to mark whalberg's star-making role in boogie nights .
he seems dumb and misguided , and his voice never changes tone .
i guess he was picked for the color of his hair and the shape of his body , but he seems pretty lanky to me .
he's all wrong for a lead role , but it doesn't help that christopher has forgotten to develop his characters .
by the end of 54 , shane's most notable trait is his stupid , fake accent .
the rest of the performances are wasted .
hayek is an energetic , talented young actress , and does almost nothing here .
meyer is endearing , but allowed to be no deeper than cardboard .
only myers , by sheer force of talent , manages to rise above christopher's wading-pool of a script .
rubell has been written just as depthless as the rest of the characters , but myers is good enough to inject subtleties that help round out the performance .
in fact , myers is the sole reason to see 54 , and all it really does is make you wish that the film had revolved around him .
i've read that studio 54 has been recreated down to the last detail .
frankly , i don't care .
it's easy to recreate something technical like this .
a fairly skilled production designer and a few carpenters can manage such a task .
besides , christopher keeps the lights so low that the sets are invisible , anyway .
aside from myers' performance , 54 is a complete failure .
it's dull , perfunctory , uninspired , and boring .
some may find my comparisons to boogie nights unfair , but they're so obvious to me .
in any event , 54 is pallid without the contrast .
it doesn't even work as mindless entertainment : it's so shallow that the most escapist viewers are likely to dismiss it .
so , don't forget those key words : dull , perfunctory , uninspired , and boring .
everything else i said was just padding .