The Man with Two Brains Reviews
The plot is somewhat sensible I guess, a brain surgeon falls for the sexy Kathleen Turner only to eventually discover she is a gold digger and doesn't give a shit about anyone really. In the mean time Martin falls in love with a disembodied brain (in a jar) and decides to try and rescue it with a new fresh sexy body.
The whole idea is basically a B-movie homage to various ridiculous horror concepts and at the same time an influence for many future raunchy trashy 80's teen comedies, it serves dual purpose. Its not exactly a full spoof but it comes close at times, its just an insane comedy with surreal touches of outlandish humour that borders on spoof.
Most of the funny moments tend to be sexual innuendo or sight gags, some childish some clever and witty, whilst others are clearly in there just for the hell of it, probably created on the spot. Take Martin's character name for instance...'Dr Hfuhruhurr', we here Martin say his name properly right at the start but from then on almost everybody pronounces it differently as they struggle to say it, most just give up. This is such a stupid gag ,its infantile, but it works so brilliantly every time yet you don't really know why. You know its stupid but seeing all the various characters pronounce it so randomly is just so fudging funny. The joke is even extended to a few other characters also, you'd think it would get old but it still manages to make you smile.
What hit me was how old the film looked, it was released in 83 but it looks like a 70's flick to me. Everything really looks so dated nowadays but I think some of it is deliberate, made to look cheap like an old fashioned mad scientist movie. Naturally the fake castle laboratory within the apartment (nice switch) is the cheesy stereotypical mad scientist vibe for this kind of thing. I like how they include that simply for that reason and actually say that in the film hehe could almost be a Leslie Nielsen vehicle.
Its also easy to forget how hot Turner was back in the day, she smoulders here as the evil temptress or black widow. I also like the various bits of ass on display too (yeah sue me). I do recall watching this as a kid and thinking it was a dirty film, to a kid the material shown is quite kinky and revealing for sure, the dialog is also pretty smutty and only now as an adult do I appreciate it, much like all the humour.
This has to be Martin's best film or close to, its such a shame he never really did anymore off the wall flicks like this. There is so much that works here, so many little gags and visual nuggets that are admittedly so daft (the very quick human pinball scene) you just can't help but like it (unless you dislike Steve Martin's style of course). Its rude crazy and predictable (with a brief bit of in your face racism!) but for me its probably one of the best comedies made.
'The only time we doctors should accept death is when it's caused by our own incompetence'
"So funny, you'll laugh your head off"
The Man with Two Brains is a decent comedy until Steve Martin starts dating a brain in a jar. I can say I almost liked the movie. It had a few scenes that were laugh-out-loud funny. But then the jokes start getting repetitive; for example with Steve Martin's character name. Every other sentence would be a joke about how no one can pronounce it. It gets old after awhile, especially when the joke wasn't all that funny the first time.
This is nowhere near Martin's best(Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Jerk) but also nowhere near his worst(Pink Panther, without a doubt). It's somewhere in the middle. It has it's moments, like most of his movies. It's really stupid, like most of his movies. It's also hard to completely hate because everyone involved knows it's stupid and their having a lot of fun making it.
In the end it's an average comedy at best. Kathleen Turner makes it a little more pleasant to watch; even with her playing a bitch. Martin is his normal self, so you know what to expect there. Funny enough, but I don't think you'll laugh your head off.
One of the overlooked Martin films, the film deals with a brain surgeon (our man Martin), who marries Dolores Benedict (Kathleen Turner, who does really well here) but finds himself attracted to a brain in a jar (Sissy Spacek, who went criminally uncredited for her delightful role) in the laboratory of Dr. Alfred Necessiter (David Warner, who I'd like to see get more work).
Confused yet? Don't worry, this film takes the Back To The Future approach of using science in a fantastical way but doesn't dumb it down and just has fun with the whole thing. If you are a fan of that trilogy, you may enjoy seeing the approach again. I certainly did, its one of the films strengths.
Not only is the plot a bit on the science-fiction side, some of the jokes are wacky and off the wall too (and again, work in the film's favour). Who could forget Dr. Hfuhruhurr's request of the little girl to call a hospital and she responds with her own medical opinion? Or the scene in which Dr. Hfuhruhurr asks his beloved and departed first wife Rebecca for a sign that he shouldn't marry his new love and she does just about everything in her power to get him to re-think and he still doesn't see a sign (if memory serves, Orgazmo would do something similar years later).
My personal favourite joke is this line, after Dr. Hfuhruhurr (the pronunciation of which is a recurring joke, it's spelled how it sounds) finds out his new bride has plans to kill him: "You kill me and I'll see that you never work in this town again".
While one of the themes of the film is old hat (love someone for their mind, not just what they look like), I overlook that because Steve and Sissy's characters work well together. Hell, her character Anne Uumellmahaye has an equally unpronounceable last name, except to Dr. Hfuhruhurr, which makes their pairing that much the better.
They do what regular couples would do, except one is a brain in a jar. It's funny yet cute at the same time.
There are times when I think people need to sit down with Steve and force him to watch his old comedies and get the hilarious Steve back out. I say start with this, it does wonders for me.
Those aren't assholes. It's pronounced *azaleas*.
Actually, the whole Merv Griffin thing is about the only dated joke in the movie. I suspect most people my age or younger really only know him as the producer of various game shows. The idea that he was actually a figure normal people would recognize if they saw him in an elevator is not one my generation quite gets. It does help that they include a clip of the TV show, because it at least places the context that, within the world of that movie, he's famous. And I guess, if you're going to run with that joke, you're going to have to risk things being dated or else invent your own celebrity, which has its own hazards. What's more, this movie came out just on the cusp of the idea that every movie would be seen for years. By 1983, our family had our first VCR, and we weren't the only ones. Still, if you get the joke, it's funny enough.
Dr. Michael Hfuhruhurr (Steve Martin) is an eminent brain surgeon. Among other things, he has invented the screw-top head, making recovery time remarkably faster. Across town from the hospital, the lovely Dolores Benedict (Kathleen Turner) is in the process of attempting to drive her husband to a heart attack so she can inherit. When he tells her that he's taken her out of his will, she runs off and gets hit by Michael's car. Michael operates on her, probably saving her life, and falls in love with her. He marries her, only to discover what she is. While on a trip to Vienna, which is being terrorized by the Elevator Killer (Griffin), he meets fellow neurosurgeon and researcher Dr. Alfred Necessiter (David Warner), who has found a way to keep brains alive in jars--with their personalities intact. There, Michael falls in love with brain-in-a-jar Anne Uumellmahaye (Sissy Spacek).
As Roger has pointed out on many occasions, if your whole joke is that a character has a funny name, you should maybe consider that your joke isn't funny. The reason I keep referring to Steve Martin's character by his first name is that I don't want to keep typing out that dumb gag name over and over again. It's then supposed to be a sign of his connection with the brain-in-a-jar that she has a stupid gag last name, too, but surely the fact that they, I don't know, [i]communicate telepathically[/i] should be enough for that. There is a time and place for the gag name, but if your running joke is that it's difficult to pronounce, you're kind of going to lose some of your audience. After all, I'm telling you about this movie in "print," but how do you describe the plot when you can't say the main character's name? By merely announcing that the character has a funny name, you're kind of making it clear that it's not that funny.
I suspect that the movie's R rating is entirely based on sexually suggestive situations. (And the fact that there wasn't a PG-13 yet.) I don't remember any swearing, though that doesn't mean there wasn't any, and there isn't really any violence. After all, though there are murders in the film, we don't really see them happen, and the people are killed with an injection of window cleaner. So no blood. And the thing is, I found most of the sexual stuff to be irrelevant to the plot. Yes, okay, we get it. Kathleen Turner is remarkably sexually desirable. We don't need to watch her suck Steve Martin's finger to work that one out; we just need to look at her. And while it's obvious that she uses her body to convince his character that he's in love with her, we don't actually need to watch her do it, and the scenes where she finds satisfaction elsewhere while refusing to sleep with her husband are completely unnecessary except to give him a reason to divorce her, and he's already got plenty of those.
Still, most of the movie has that Early Steve Martin sensibility and sense of humour, and that alone makes it worth watching. He plays, as usual, a person doing completely ludicrous things but taking himself completely seriously. One of the most important aspects of the early Steve Martin comedies is that he doesn't know he's funny. I find that comedy often works best that way. Not, you understand, by taking itself too seriously, but by having the characters take themselves seriously. Yes, in [i]L.A. Story[/i], Harris knows he's funny. But he also knows he's being funny on purpose. It's the way he knows how to interact with the world. He knows he's pushing it, and he knows it doesn't always work. Still taking himself seriously as a person. Because in the world of the film, he's real, and most of us take ourselves too seriously, even if the world does not.