Like a dedicated theater troupe, most of the cast of the superb Big Night (1996) reunites for the directorial debut of actor Stanley Tucci. A throwback to the screwball comedies of the '20s and '30s, The Impostors (1998) boasts many hilarious scenes in its first act, but the action and story sag once the sprawling cast is adrift aboard a luxury liner where the bulk of the tale unfolds. A facility with his fellow performers and a few inventively staged bits of character business don't make up for a script that pales in comparison to the award-winner penned by Tucci's cousin Joe Tropiano for Big Night. The talented performers keep the humor from falling too flat, but the aimless buffoonery wears thin after a time, going nowhere fast and providing laughs that are too sporadic. At its best, The Impostors (1998) is a truly funny comedy with some pleasantly quirky characters, but at its worst, the film feels like a self-indulgent, largely improvised high school play designed by the participants to crack each other up, forgetting the presence of its audience.
by Karl Williams review