The Jerk (1979)
Average Rating: 6.6/10
Reviews Counted: 31
Fresh: 26 | Rotten: 5
No consensus yet.
Average Rating: 6/10
Critic Reviews: 5
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 2
No consensus yet.
Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 55,179
Carl Reiner directs Steve Martin (who co-wrote the script with Carl Gottlieb) in this gag-laden comedy about an idiotic white man, raised by a poor family of black sharecroppers, who doesn't realize he's not black. Navin R. Johnson (Steve Martin) is told the horrible truth when he finds himself instinctively tapping his feet to an easy listening tune on the radio, instead of a low-down blues. His mother (Mabel King) tells him he's white and Navin takes to the road (in a World War II bomber
Jan 1, 1979 Wide
Jul 26, 2005
Watch It Now
M. Emmet Walsh
Father De Cordoba
Punk No. 1
Iron Balls McGinty
Frances E. Williams
Its humor is successful and unsuccessful by turns, and although Comedian Carl Reiner is the director, the instinct here is to give most of both credit and blame to Martin.
An artless, non-stop barrage of off-the-wall situations, funny and unfunny jokes, generally effective and sometimes hilarious sight gags and bawdy non sequiturs.
The comedy runs out of steam when the jerk makes good, but laugh for laugh it's probably a better investment than 10.
The laughs aren't steady, but they're persistent, and the film moves fast enough to compensate for its unevenness.
An oddball odyssey so strange, filled with non-sequiturs so funny, and decorated by a romance so sweet, it was an inevitable star-maker.
If only he could have satisfied himself with this area of expertise, people would still talk of Steve Martin as one of the kings of comic cinema.
The whole thing is uneven and slight, but the highlight moments guilty-pleasure us with the sort of stupid-funny that's 'LOL' quotable afterward.
Steve Martin is at the height of his comic powers in this very un-PC comedy.
Here, it's almost pure mainlined Martin at his weirdest, but with Carl Reiner in the chair to offer some finesse where needed.
- Navin Johnson: No, Navin Johnson.
- Madman: [aiming at Navin at the gas station] Die, gas pumper!
- Patty Bernstein: [provocatively] You know what I wanna do?
- Navin Johnson: What's that?
- Patty Bernstein: Guess *your* weight. [starts squeezing on him everywhere]
- Navin Johnson: Hey, you're really trying to be accurate!
- Navin Johnson: Good Lord - I've heard about this - cat juggling! Stop! Stop! Stop it! Stop it! Stop it! Good. Father, could there be a God that would let this happen?
- Madman: [points to Navin's name in the phone book] Johnson, Navin R... sounds like a typical bastard.
- Navin Johnson: [Navin recites some wisdom] Lord loves a workin' man; don't trust whitey; see a doctor and get rid of it.
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