Hardly Working (1981)

Hardly Working (1981)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Hardly Working Photos

Movie Info

Jerry Lewis' first film in a decade stars the comedian as Bo Hooper, an unemployed circus clown who cannot hold down a job.
Directed By:
Written By:
20th Century Fox Film Corporation


Jerry Lewis
as Bo Hooper
Susan Oliver
as Claire Trent
Roger C. Carmel
as Robert Trent
Deanna Lund
as Millie
Harold J. Stone
as Frank Loucazi
Steve Franken
as Steve Torres
Buddy Lester
as Claude Reed
Leonard Stone
as Ted Mitchell
Billy Barty
as Sammy
Alex Henteloff
as Balling
Britt Leach
as Gas Station Owner
Peggy Mondo
as Woman in Restaurant
Amy Krug
as Michele
Buffy Dee
as C.B.
Lou Marsh
as Clown
Tony Adams
as Clown
Bob May
as Clown
Angela Bomford
as Curio Lady
Cary Hoffman
as Waiter
Jack Wakefield
as Disco Manager
Woody Woodbury
as Policeman
Charles Pitts
as Policeman
Ed Blessington
as Policeman
Jordana Wester
as Lady in House
John DiSanti
as Newsman
Bobby Kosser
as Newsman
Erica Huddy
as Newswoman
John Rice
as Midget Clown
Greg Rice
as Midget Clown
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Critic Reviews for Hardly Working

All Critics (10) | Top Critics (4)

The movie's desperately amiable tone plays like a chastised boy's terrified plea for love; the oblivious cruelty that emerges nonetheless (as in Lewis's embarrassing parody of a Japanese chef) makes it all the sadder.

Full Review… | May 18, 2014
New Yorker
Top Critic

I was absolutely stunned by the vast stupidity of this film.

Full Review… | October 17, 2007
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

The result is utter confusion.

August 30, 2004
New York Times
Top Critic

Lewis has described this as his worst movie, but it also may be his most revealing one.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

It's a bumpy movie, no more graceful than its buffoonish main character. Worse, the star tries to have it two ways, alternating between manic physical comedy and softspoken self-pity. The result if often awkward, and sometimes downright weird.

Full Review… | May 20, 2014
Christian Science Monitor

To adults this poky movie may seem a bit sad. Lewis' once-manic energy is barely suggested in a few labored outbursts, and his lovable bewilderment is now more like bitterness.

Full Review… | May 20, 2014
People Magazine

Audience Reviews for Hardly Working


I remember thinking this was pretty funny when I first saw it in 1981. I guess I'll chalk that up to being 10 at the time. We watched it again last night, and despite several random moments of pretty funny, normal Jerry Lewis slapstick, this is kind of a turd. The scene of him working the grill is priceless though. Then again, minus a half star for the final, ridiculous scene with the rabbits. Meh.

Gaspar Oot
Gaspar Oot

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