Shane O'Shea (Ryan Phillippe) is 19 and bored by the local nightlife in New Jersey. He ends up standing outside Studio 54, trying to get in. The club's owner, Steve Rubell (Mike Myers), is taken by the young man's good looks and waves him through. Soon Shane joins the ranks of bare-chested busboys working under the strobe lights. He makes friends with a coworker, Greg (Brecklin Meyer), who is married to a coat-check girl and would-be singer, Anita (Salma Hayek). Meanwhile, Shane's favouritism by Rubell and a prominent socialite (Sela Ward) puts him on the fast track. It's not long before he is promoted from busboy to bartender, and gets all the women and drugs he wants. He has set his sights on a soap opera actress, Julie Black (Neve Campbell), whom he has long admired from afar.
 

2.5
Famous 70\'s NYC nightclub seen and told through the eyes of a young employee.

This is obviously the year when we revisit the disco scene of the 70`s on film. Christopher Mark`s 54, refers to Studio 54, that mecca for all the in-people in the world in the late 70`s where they could indulge in extravagant behaviour, drugs, sex and disco. 54 is basically the same story as Whit Stillman`s The Last Days of Disco but it approaches the story differently. We experience the club though New Jersey wannabe Shane O`Shea - Ryan Phillippe who gains entre into the club through a whim of its owner Steve Rubell played by Mike Myers. He`s employed as a busboy at first but quickly susses the situation - being a barman is what counts even if you have to step over friends like fellow busboy Greg - Breckin Meyer and cloak room attendant Anita - Salma Hayek..... but if you`re from Jersey City you`re desperate for money, sex and drugs and to mix with the in crowd... While I quite enjoyed 54 I find it really difficult to recall why. The interesting story is that of the real-life Steve Rubell - Mike Myers walks a very fine line between being good in the film and really embarrassing. You feel first time writer/director Christopher Mark has somehow missed an opportunity by focussing on the naive and not terribly bright Shane instead of the much more complex, almost repulsive character of Rubell. Characters are introduced and never really developed - there`s the bopping grannie, Ellen Albertina Dow, Greg who gets into a heavy drug scene, Anita who wants to be a disco singer, Neve Campbell`s soapie star who`s from Shane`s neighbourhood - they`re all shadows. Ultimately 54 is a thumbnail sketch of a moment in social history. I certainly preferred the wit and self-mocking philosophy of The Last Days of Disco.

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Details

M
1 hour 33 min
Thu, 09/03/2009 - 11

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