Steve Martin's first major role comes to the small screen in the form of the 26th Anniversary Edition of "The Jerk," a silly comedy about an imbecile who manages to drag himself through life and even become rich for a short while after an idiotic invention makes big dollars.
The title "The Jerk" really doesn't reflect what the movie is about, at least with today's meaning of the word. It really should have been called "Foolish" or something along those lines, as Martin's character makes the guys in "Dumb and Dumber" look like Einstein twins. Still, despite its extreme goofiness, the movie is very enjoyable. Martin is a riot, though he really doesn't have to try very hard to make you laugh. After all, the film basically starts out with Martin explaining that he grew up as a poor, black kid - cut to a shot of a shanty with singing and dancing black people. "You mean I'm going to stay this color forever?" Martin cries when his black mother tells him the truth. Funny stuff.
There are parts that I liked more than others, but the simple goofiness of the whole affair makes "The Jerk" more than worth it. The gunman scene is classic. The movie does lose its flare in the last twenty minutes or so, but that can be expected from a movie such as this.
The DVD, despite being the 26th Anniversary Edition, has little to offer in special features. As with most "special editions," these days, I'm hardly surprised. A stupid feature that "teaches" you to play the ukulele is the most prominent feature, and other than that we are merely given a full length version of the lost filmstrips of Father Carlos las Vegas de Cordova (cat juggling, etc.) and the original theatrical trailer. If you're a fan of "The Jerk," there's no harm in purchasing this DVD, but if you already own it, why bother wasting your money?
"The Jerk" is a funny yet at times overly silly film that has stood the test of time. Amazingly, Steve Martin looks exactly the same now as he did way back when this was made - makes you wonder, doesn't it?
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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