Bowfinger is a 1999 comedy cult film directed by Frank Oz. Bowfinger depicts a down-and-out filmmaker in Hollywood attempting to make a film on a small budget with a star who does not know that he is in the film. It was written by Steve Martin, and stars Steve Martin, Eddie Murphy, and Heather Graham. Film critics have described Bowfinger as a parody of Hollywood, filmmaking, celebrity and according to many reviews, the group "MindHead" is a parody of the Church of Scientology. Steve Martin has denied that MindHead is based on Scientology, specifically claiming it to be more a pastiche of various other things he had observed.
Film producer Bobby Bowfinger (Steve Martin) is extremely eager to make a film, he's saved up for it his entire lifehe now has $2,184 to pay for production costs. With a script ("Chubby Rain") penned by an accountant (Adam Alexi-Malle), a camera operator (Jamie Kennedy) with access to studio-owned equipment, and several actors who are hungry for work (Christine Baranski, Heather Graham, Kohl Sudduth) he needs access to a studio in order to distribute his masterwork. He manages to extract a promise from a film studio executive (Robert Downey Jr.) that the executive will distribute the film if it includes currently-hot action star Kit Ramsey (Eddie Murphy). Ramsey - a rather pompous, neurotic actor - refuses, so Bowfinger constructs a plan to covertly film (on an extremely low budget) all of Ramsey's scenes without his knowledge. The actors, told that Ramsey is method acting and will not be interacting with them outside of their scenes, walk up to Ramsey in public and recite their lines while hidden cameras catch Ramsey's confused reactions. The plan goes well at first. Ramsey ends up starring (unknowingly) in the movie. However, Ramsey (who is a member of an organization called MindHead) misinterprets the movie's sci-fi dialogue and believes he's being stalked by aliens, damaging his already-precarious mental state. He finally goes into hiding in order to maintain his sanity. This puts a hold on the film production, and leaves Bowfinger wondering what to do next. A desperate Bowfinger resorts to hiring a Ramsey lookalike (also played by Murphy) named Jiff. Jiff is kind, amiable and rather clueless. He even runs a gauntlet of "stunt drivers" racing along a major freeway when asked. Eventually, he becomes depressed about his lack of acting talent, but another cast member assures him that his real talent is being an exact double for Kit Ramsey. Jiff isn't sure "how much of a talent that is...I mean, I am his brother." Using this new knowledge, Bowfinger has Jiff find out Kit Ramsey's movements and the final, pivotal conclusion to the movie is readied for filming. All Bowfinger needs to shoot is the final scene at an observatory, with Ramsey shouting the final line "Gotcha suckers!" At this point, MindHead officials have discovered evidence that Kit's 'aliens' may not be just in his head. They track Bowfinger to the observatory, and shut down production. It seems Bowfinger will never get his movie. That is until his camera crew reveals that they were filming B-roll footage of Ramsey off-set, just in case they saw anything they could use. What they got was footage of Ramsey donning a paper bag over his head and exposing himself to an amused Laker Girl Cheerleading Squad. Bowfinger shows the footage to MindHead, and blackmails them, threatening to take the footage public. Knowing that this material could ruin Ramsey's career (he's a major contributor to their operation), MindHead advises the star to finish the project. Bowfinger finally gets to sit at the premiere of a movie he himself directed, and is awed. Following the arguable success of the movie, Bowfinger receives a rare Fed-Ex envelopean offer to film a martial arts movie called "Fake Purse Ninjas" starring Bowfinger and Jiff Ramsey.