Worst JL movie I’ve seen so far. I can’t believe this was the (directorial) follow-up to “Nutty Professor”.
Lewis is of course the title patsy. A famous singer/entertainer dies, and his handlers don’t know what to do with themselves. They want to continue their partnership, keep doing what they were doing, but how can they without a star to support? Enter clumsy bellboy Lewis. His character is sweet but SUCH a loser that it’s impossible to suspend enough disbelief to believe that the handlers would unanimously adopt him instead of taking maybe an hour to look around, or more likely holding a casting call.
Hardly ever funny, the romantic bit seems forced, movie’s sole reason to exist seems to be so Lewis could work with some high-class supporting actors, so here they are:
Everett Sloane (Disorderly Orderly, The Enforcer, Citizen Kane)
Phil Harris (Anything Goes, The Jungle Book)
Keenan Wynn (Piranha, Laserblast, Point Blank, Parts: The Clonus Horror)
Peter Lorre (M, Maltese Falcon, Mad Love)
John Carradine (The Howling, Frankenstein Island, Red Zone Cuba)
Ina Balin (The Projectionist 1971) is the girl, the heart of the picture, and Scatman Crothers gets one good scene.
Jerry is called the “king of comedy” once, and Ed Sullivan refers to having Martin & Lewis on the show before.
L-R: Lorre, Wynn, Lewis, Carradine, Balin, Sloane, Harris
this was his final film:
the mushy flashback scene:
funny ending, dismantling the set:
UPDATE: Senses of Cinema calls it “a discourse on comedy” and points to the scene where Jerry almost but never quite breaks all the priceless vases as an example of defying comedic expectations. See attached comment for a more thought-out opinion than mine.