Soapdish (1991)
Paramount Home Video
Cast: Sally Field, Whoopi Goldberg, Kevin Kline, Cathy Moriarty, Robert Downey Jr.
Extras: Featurette, Theatrical Trailer

’Soapdish’ is a screwball comedy set in the topsy-turvy world of daytime soap operas. Sally Field stars as Celeste Talbert, the star of ’The Sun Also Sets’ and the reigning queen of daytime television. Conniving starlet Montana Moorehead (Cathy Moriarty) convinces slimy producer David Barnes (Robert Downey, Jr.) that Celeste is too old and needs to leave the show. So, David goes over the head of writer Rose Schwartz (Whoopi Goldberg) and creates a bizarre plot in which Celeste kills a homeless girl, Lori (Elizabeth Shue). But, when Lori is revealed as Celeste’s real-life niece, that plan fails. So, David decides to have Rod Randall (Kevin Kline) return to the show. Rod had been Celeste’s on-and off-screen love interest 20 years ago, but she had him thrown off of the show. Rod’s return throws Celeste into a whirlwind and it appears that Montana’s evil scheme is going to work. But, in true soap opera fashion, Celeste has a deep, dark secret to reveal which will take everyone by surprise.

You don’t have to be fan of soaps to get a kick out of ’Soapdish.’ The film is absolute insanity, as it pokes fun at the entertainment industry and it’s great to see so many well-respected actors (especially Field) cutting loose and having a great time. The entire cast is great here — not only the main players, but those in smaller roles, such as Kathy Najimy and Garry Marshall. The film does get bogged-down in plot at times, but the funny scenes more than make up for that. And the last 15 minutes of ’Soapdish’ is one of the funniest last reels of a film that you’ll ever see. Vastly underrated, ’Soapdish’ is a comedy that deserves to find a new audience.

Paramount Home Video reveals ’Soapdish’ on DVD, and it’s a nice little package. The film has been letterboxed at 1.85:1 and is enhanced for 16×9 TVs. This transfer brings us an image, which is sharp and clear, showing only a slight bit of darkness at times. There are virtually no defects from the source print, and no overt grain is visible. Also, there are no significant problems from artifacting or edge enhancement. The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio mix provides clear and audible dialogue, but the surround sound effects are limited to occasional musical cues. Also, I noted no subwoofer response during the film. This DVD contains a four-and-a-half minute featurette, which offers interviews with the principal cast. Also included is the theatrical trailer for ’Soapdish’, which has been letterboxed at 1.85:1.