Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 20
  2. Negative: 9 out of 20
  1. An entertaining and surprisingly serious look at the infamous New York discotheque, with a genuine nostalgia for the late '70s and early '80s.
  2. 63
    Too often, the film is more like a soundtrack with visuals than a well constructed, fully developed motion picture.
  3. 50
    It's a noble effort, but aficionados and the mildly interested are recommended to seek out VH-1's excellent Studio 54 documentary in lieu of this shallow morality play.
  4. Reviewed by: M. V. Moorhead
    In the end narration, Shane gripes that the new corporate owners who took over Studio 54 after Rubell and Schrager's crash made the club "safe and boring." But that's exactly what Christopher has done to 54.
  5. Amusing and holds interest largely thanks to its re-creation of a glitzy, flamboyant era, not to mention its soundtrack of disco songs that sound a lot better today than 20 years ago.
  6. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    All glitz, no glory. [7 September 1998]
  7. 50
    "Saturday Night Fever" with designer drugs and duds.
  8. Reviewed by: Emanuel Levy
    Director Mark Christopher gives the picture a brisk pace and a colorful, party-like mood that makes the experience painless and sporadically even enjoyable.
  9. The movie is almost completely uninteresting on the story level but fascinating as a work of imagined reconstruction and anthropology and as a study of the theory and practice of Studio 54.
  10. There's a glimmer of what the film might have been, though, in the performance of Mike Myers, who plays Studio co-owner Steve Rubell, with his sweaty thinning hair and look-at-me-I-got-class Lacoste shirts, as a vengeful gargoyle presiding over a kingdom of beauty he can rule but never join.
  11. Reviewed by: Caroline Westbrook
    It looks attractive, and is enlivened somewhat by the soundtrack's obligatory disco dinosaurs, but those expecting any real insight into the 70s club scene will come away hugely disappointed.
  12. Reviewed by: Rita Tennyson
    The movie does a great job of capturing the excessive behavior and the fun that was had but it falls short in delivering a realistic picture of lives after the party ends. Christopher, like Rubell, is into giving his audience escape, not reality.
  13. 30
    The film's sole redeeming facet is Mike Myers' rich, multilayered performance as Rubell: Simultaneously repulsive and charming, hedonistic and oddly paternal, Myers steals every scene he's in. It's a great performance that deserves to be in a much better film.
  14. 30
    It's a flat, clumsy piece of filmmaking. When Phillippe and Ward are in bed, the shots are so badly matched that I believed they were having sex, just not with each other.
  15. Reviewed by: Bruce Diones
    Mike Myers plays Steve Rubell as the druggy epicenter of Studio 54, and his performance gives director Mark Christopher's soapy morality tale its only moments of wanton, hedonistic spirit.
  16. There are easily 54 reasons to dis 54, but let's start and finish with the obvious: The script plays like a proud offering from the lead hand at the Cliché Factory.
  17. Reviewed by: Jane Ganahl
    Offers nothing new, and a lot less. It's a hollow shell of a film, rife with plot twists that go nowhere.
  18. 20
    If it's difficult to pinpoint exactly where this maladroit drama about the infamous New York discotheque went wrong, it's because everything in the film is lousy: The writing, the directing, the acting, the casting (Neve Campbell?), the moral posturing, the Capote clone, the Andy lookalike, even the glitter that clings to Salma Hayek's lashes like tears.
  19. Decadence has rarely looked so pathetic, lethargic and dispiriting as it does in this listless film.
  20. Years from now, if Mark Christopher's timid, meandering film 54 is spoken of at all, it will probably be lumped together with Whit Stillman's ''Last Days of Disco'' as one of two movies released in 1998 to bungle the same opportunity.

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