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Fame, Fortune, Cheese, & Beer

Wisconsin Film Festival

[CC1] CHUMP CHANGE-FAME, FORTUNE, CHEESE AND BEER (USA, 2000, 90 min., 35mm.) Wisconsin's own. Dir: Stephen Burrows in person. Cast: Stephen Burrows, Traci Lords, Tim Matheson, Anne Meara, Jerry Stiller, A.J. Benza, Fred Willard, Abe Vigoda. This charming and very funny first feature is based on writer-director Stephen Burrows' absurd real-life experiences in show business. A Milwaukee native and UW-Madison grad, Burrows was a member of Del Close's Baron's Barracudas comedy troupe in Chicago and the Groundlings in Los Angeles.

Burrows's first film, a short about his appearance and subsequent humiliation on THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE, earned placement in over twenty film festivals plus one lawsuit by Merv Griffin.

CHUMP CHANGE traces the rise, fall, rise, fall and rise of "Milwaukee," (played by Burrows) an idealistic screenwriter whose descent into L.A. "rewrite hell" sends him fleeing back to his native Wisconsin, where he falls in love with the irascible Sam (Traci Lords).

With strong performances and comic pacing that recalls films by those other UW-Madison alums, the Zucker Brothers and Jim Abrahams, CHUMP CHANGE mixes Hollywood madness with Wisconsin cheese, beer, polka, and bowling-and comes up with a winner. M.C.

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