54: The Director's Cut

106 minutes 1998

Mark Christopher's lame 1998 drama about the legendary Manhattan disco Studio 54 was one of the most famous casualties of hands-on producer Harvey Weinstein: conceived as another Boogie Nights, with Ryan Phillippe as a bisexual hustler climbing the club's employment ladder, the movie tested badly in the homophobic suburbs and was dramatically recut and reshot to de-gay the protagonist. Restored to something like its original form, it still isn't any good, but at least it has the courage of its convictions. Largely deleted is the hero's flaccid romance with a rising soap opera star (Neve Campbell), and gone is the unpersuasive coda in which club owner Steve Rubell (Mike Myers), paroled after serving 11 months for tax evasion, returns to Studio 54 to inform the assembled cokeheads that they're all his family. Replacing these elements are more scenes of the Phillippe character coupling with various people, including the ostensibly monogamous husband and wife he calls his best friends (Salma Hayek and Breckin Meyer).

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