Chump Change
Stephen Burrows, Tim Matheson, Traci Lords, Fred Willard
Written and directed by Stephen Burrows
89 minutes

Stephen Burrows plays Milwaukee Steve in Chump Change an indie comedy DVD that also stars Tim Matheson and Traci Lords. This is another small guy trying to make it in Hollywood movie. Like all other such movies, Chump Change pokes fun at Hollywood stereotypes such as the agent, the acting class headed by a nut, a short film that is famous only famous because no one has seen it, and pitching really bad ideas such as a sitcom about Abe Lincoln’s ghost -a sitcom that actually aired in the early eighties.

Milwaukee Steve is famous for being the crotch itch guy in a commercial and an indie movie titled Soldier of Fortune about his experience on the Merv Griffin produced game show. No one has seen Soldier of Fortune because Griffin sued and this is what makes Milwaukee Steve the talk of the town and gets him all the meetings he wants. Chump Change is told in a series of flashbacks after Steve goes back to Milwaukee for some unknown reason.

When he gets home, he discovers his mom is gone for her annual sex trip to Iceland and rented out his room to Sam (played by Traci Lords) a thirty-something college student. Sam and Steve become friends as they go about town so Chump Change can have a series of interesting mid-west types anyone familiar with the indie comedy genre will recognize show up.

Although Chump Change is a pretty well-written comedy and Stephen Burrows a decent actor (then again he wrote the role himself) it somehow does not maintain the viewer’s interest long enough to carry you through it. This is because there are too many scenes poking fun at Hollywood (such as Steve being hired to write a sex-action-comedy and then gets ripped a new one for writing a movie with too much sex, too much action, and too much comedy) and not enough story to move it along though the Sam / Traci Lords relationship with Milwaukee Steve is interesting.

If you want a really good comedy about Hollywood, try The Big Picture. Chump Change is chump change compared to it.


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