Published on February 23rd, 2013 | by Chris1
The Sad Sack (1957)
Continuing in a vein of comedy-slash-war movies, this time we look at 1957's The Sad Sack. A comedy of errors starring none other than the coordination-challenged Jerry Lewis.
Yeah, OK. It was funny, I guess. I suppose I'm not a huge fan of the Jerry Lewis "schtick." Three Stooges? Sign me up. This guy? For whatever reason I've never really thought it was funny. The whole "whiny short bus" thing just puts me off. Same thing here.
The gist goes something like this: Pvt. Bixby (Jerry Lewis) gets tapped to be a part of a study on people "like him" in the military, by one not-unattractive Major Shelton (Phyllis Kirk)... The two typical jokers assigned to his "case", Cpl. Dolan (David Wayne) and Pvt. Wenaslawsky (Joe Mantell) don't appreciate it much, and neither does Sgt. Major Pulley (Gene Evans)....
As you might expect, the "idiot savant" bit on Bixby's part is played up to the hilt, as he gets himself, and everyone else by proxy into one mess after another. Finally culminating in a comedy of errors in North Africa. He gets engaged to a French entertainer (Lilianne Montevecchi) who is then kidnapped by, well, I guess you'd call them terrorists in possession of an automatic gun that only Bixby can fix (which he does..) and more hilarity ensues.
They dispatch the enemy combatants in true hollywood style and wind up with medals in the process.
Also of note is the not-so-subtle sexism that reared its ugly head with resepct to the Major Shelton character. Commonplace for the period? Probably, and funny to boot. Now? Not quite so funny, except in a "did you hear that?" type of way. Am I being "politically correct?" Maybe. Maybe I'm just noticing the almost 60 years of cultural differences we've gone through.
And another thing. It was overwhelmingly depressing to see an aged, obviously depressed, and overweight Peter Lorre taking on such a lame and second rate role as "Abdul" the terrorist idiot. I understand that you have to pay the rent and all, but that just made me sad. You could tell he didn't really want to be in the part. It was obvious.
The Sad Sack, while ultimately funny I suppose, wasn't my bag. I'm sure other will find it knee-slapping hilarious. I found it merely amusing and average, and give it an average 2.5/5....
Viewed on Netflix streaming, since it doesn't appear to warrant a proper DVD release that I can see. Here's a taste or two, though, to give you an idea. Just follow through on this and the whole thing is there, for now. Let me know if it disappears, please.
Summary: Jerry Lewis acts stupid and its funny or something.