I’m not quite sure why we ended up watching this to tick over the New Year, but this is what ended up in the DVD player on New Years at my in-laws. (It seemed a better choice than BMX Bandits.)

It’s been a long time since I’ve watched a Jerry Lewis film.  He kind of dates back to my childhood, and sits alongside Abbot & Costello and Francis the Talking Mule as Saturday afternoon entertainment (in the off-season when there was no football).

I remember Jerry best in all his comedies with Dean Martin, the crooner, but this one was a solo effort written and directed by Jerry himself.  In the film, he plays a mute bellboy at a big Florida hotel.

The film (as we are told at the beginning in an appearance by the film’s producer) has no plot at all.  It’s just a random collection of comic vignettes, most of them playing up on the fact that Jerry’s character doesn’t speak.

I’m not sure if it is was funny at the time, but most of the gags here were on a level with the visual gags you’d expect to see in a Bugs Bunny cartoon. Cute, but it felt aimed at little kids.  (Or are we so used to comedy being off-colour/black/quirky that we can’t cope with straight slapstick comedy any more? Who knows . . .)

The funniest moment (probably due to lack of sleep) wasn’t actually with Jerry, but with a trio of hillbilly bluegrass artists who make a cameo in one scene.  I couldn’t find them on YouTube, so you’ll just have to track it down yourself.

Or not.  At least the film is short.

2 out of 5.

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Posted in DVD

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