Saturday, February 4, 2017

Movie Review: "The Jerk" (1979)

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Movie"The Jerk"
Director: Carl Reiner
Year: 1979
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 34 minutes

The not too bright adopted son of a share cropper (Steve Martin) heads out into the world to find his place.

"The Jerk" is directed by Carl Reiner and stars Steve Martin. It was the kickoff of not only Steve Martin's film career, but the start of a series of pictures Reiner and Martin would work on together, which includes "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid," "The Man With Two Brains," and "All of Me." The film is written by Martin himself along with Carl Gottlieb and Michael Elias. Right away, we get a sense of the silliness we are in for as Steve Martin's character Navin Johnson, looking homeless and disheveled, utters the words "I was born a poor black child." It's even funnier considering that it's true in a manner of speaking. Navin was raised as the son of a black share cropper, and despite the fact that he is white, he is shocked to discover he was actually adopted. Upon discovering he was adopted, Navin sets off on a journey to find himself and his place in the world, and he meets some interesting characters and has some zany adventures along the way.

In this comedy, Steve Martin is able to seamlessly combine the witty and smartly satirical with the random and downright absurd. "The Jerk" showcases Martin at his absolute best. This film offers an endless amounts of laughter, whether it be from jokes interwoven withing the dialogue or the fact that Bernadette Peters, who plays Navin's love interest, randomly produces a coronet on a date at the beach. There is an endearing charm to the naivete of the character of Navin Johnson and we absolutely love it, despite the fact that he's, well, a jerk. Ridiculous adult-oriented comedy is what Steve Martin has always done best, and "The Jerk" is a perfect example of that. This is one of our favorite Martin films, one we feel like we have to watch every year to re-absorb its brilliance.

My Rating: 10/10
BigJ's Rating: 10/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 84%
Do we recommend this movie: ABSOLUTELY YES!!!

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