is no Saturday Night Fever
--more like Sunday Morning Hangover
. This portrait of the legendary Manhattan disco and its colourful cofounder, Steve Rubell, plays like the outtakes of a much more interesting filmwhere are the sex, the drugs, the classic disco music? (It shouldn't surprise viewers that Miramax and writer-director Mark Christopher had a falling-out over the final cut of the film; Miramax prevailed.) Considering that the essence of Studio 54 was about the rich and beautiful, it seems a bit unwise to focus on the poor and only somewhat beautiful, namely Shane (Ryan Phillippe), a Jersey boy who gets taken in by the razzle-dazzle of the disco era. Crossing the river, Shane finds another, more exciting life at Studio 54 as a shirtless bartender, and soon finds himself partying with the crème de la crème--and smitten with comely soap star Julie (Neve Campbell).
The permutations of the story are familiar, but too many elements are missing. Most of Phillippe's performance seems to have ended up on the cutting-room floor (although his chiselled torso gets maximum exposure), Campbell's role is basically a glorified cameo and Breckin Meyer and Salma Hayek, as Phillippe's only true pals, are wasted. The one true gem of the film, though, is Mike Myers' take on the late Steve Rubell, an inspired high-wire performance that balances humour and tragedy without ever giving in to camp or pathos--his drunken proposition of Philippe is a minor treasure. The soundtrack does feature some unknown chestnuts and a few new remixes, including an inspired disco version of--believe it or not--Gordon Lightfoot's "If You Could Read My Mind". --Mark Englehart
A fictionalised account of the rise and fall of the infamous 1970s New York nightclub, Studio 54. Controversial owner Steve Rubell (Mike Myers) recognises star potential in young Shane O'Shea (Ryan Philippe) and gives him a job behind the bar. Shane's good looks and charm ensure the dancefloor remains full, but Rubell's empire is threatened by the decadence and corruption that runs through it.