The Imposters Review

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Arthur (Tucci) and Maurice (Platt) are starving actors and when they bad-mouth thesp Jeremy Burtom in an anhebreated state, they go on the run. They find themselves stowed away on an ocean-liner and all manner of riotous farce ensues.


Stanley Tucci made a real name for himself with his peerless turn as the bad guy in TV's desperately undervalued Murder One, followed by his directorial debut/triumph with the food flavoured Big Night. A two trick pony, then? Certainly not. Let's make that three tricks and counting.

For his sophomore big screen effort, the Italian-American star veers into period farce and manages to craft a wry and unexpected package of delights. There's no reason why a sub-Laurel And Hardy double act - Platt and Tucci - caught up in a plot ropier than, well old rope, should work. But The Impostors delivers against all the odds, marking itself as a genuine success, and Tucci as a director of note.

Set in 1930s New York, he and Platt play two starving actors, Arthur and Maurice, involved mostly in starving and rather less in acting. When they drunkenly badmouth leading thesp Jeremy Burtom (Alfred Molina) in a bar one night, they find themselves improbably caught up in a desperate flight from the enraged luvvie. Their escape leads to the docks and then to them stowing away on an ocean-going liner that, in keeping with the period evocation, never appears to leave the perfectly painted studio backdrop against which the action takes place.

If comedy is hard, then farce is harder still and, while many have tried, many have also failed. The real star then is not Tucci, but Tucci's ability to carry off so mannered a form in so accomplished a manner. His characters run from room to room, hiding under the beds of copulating couples, stuff themselves into the wardrobes of copulating couples, engender a distinct naivete and, - more than anything - deliver the laughs.

This is no mean feat, given the fact that the writer-director-star is at times a touch too concerned with selling himself and Platt as a latter day Laurel And Hardy. They're not, but the film doesn't suffer for that. What we end up with instead is a delightful ensemble piece - Steve Buscemi and Lili Taylor take a bow - with plenty of charm and good humour to spare. In other words, a film good enough for you to forgive the cast dancing over the end titles.

A film good enough for you to forgive the cast dancing over the end titles.