Thursday, March 17, 2016

Brief Thoughts - THE BELLBOY (1960)

Every now and then I see a film and, although it is well made and seems to hit all its targets, I just can't enjoy it. Such is the Jerry Lewis comedy THE BELLBOY. I can't say it's a bad movie because it really isn't. It's an admittedly plotless series of 'amusing' vignettes centered on Lewis as a hapless bellboy in a sprawling Miami Beach resort hotel. I can admire the attempt to create such a film which, in a way, is a feature length version of a sketch comedy/variety TV show only with a much bigger budget. There is no ongoing story thread or overarching development to get in the way of just going for a laugh ever couple of minutes. Where it fails for me is that the movie never once made me laugh. I grinned a few times - the Milton Berle sequence is amusing - but that was the extent of the tickling of my funny bone. Regardless, I did find things that kept me interested enough to watch the entire film. Lewis is always a fascinating screen presence even when he is carrying a joke or pratfall about two steps too far. Also, the film is a beautiful black and white peek back in time at the attitudes and the fashion of a decade that seems so bright and sharp when viewed through the long lens of Hollywood distorted history. I'm glad I watched it but I don't think I'll ever revisit it.

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