An aging soap opera starred, played by Sally Field, is the target of a jealous supporting cast and a conniving producer (Robert Downey Jr.). The head writer of her show (Whoopi Goldberg) seems to be the only ally she has as a former love’s character (Kevin Kline) is recast to throw her off her game, along with a mysterious family member barging into her world and work life.
Soapdish relishes in Soap Opera story tactics just as much as it wishes to lampoon them. Twists, secrets, romance, backstabbing, tears, sex changes, melodramatic speeches…all of these elements are parodied in the show within the film, but also work their way into the real-life drama of these characters. The success of this film relies on being able to display how ridiculous soap operas can be while still selling the audience a complete (and often over-the-top) soap opera tale. This is truly a soap opera world as nothing is grounded in reality (Abandon all hope, Vittorio De Sica fans who enter here). The plot twists are painted in broad strokes and the physical comedy bits are motivated by pure nonsense. That considered, it is a truly funny journey peppered with some outstanding yet subtle visual gags (constantly panning past beefcake actors in the production hallways for example).
The lion’s share of Soapdish‘s success is due to its stellar cast. Sally Field delivers at least half of her line’s through tears or in hysterics but remains charming, Kevin Kline manages to be downtrodden one second and ooze charisma the very next, and Robert Downey Jr. is unblinking in his selfish plotting.
Widescreen 16:9. Some more care could have gone into this transfer, especially when the packaging boasts that it is “Celebrating 20 years of Soapdish.” A haze is sometimes visible in the black tones. Obviously this film would only have a limited fanbase but it still looks older than it really is.
Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 in English and French Stereo. Each track has a nice presentation. There is no bad choice between all three honestly.
Subtitles available in English.
Behind the Scenes: A fluffy promo with token comments by the leading cast.
It seems funny for me to only skim the surface of this film’s plot when the subject matter is so silly and light. But like any true soap, you’ve got to tune in yourself to see where the hijinx will lead because there is always a twist coming, and you ust never know who is playing who. Trust me, THIS soap is worth your hour and a half, so long as you don’t have anything deep or meaningful to do in that time.