Before The Naked Gun, Before Dumb and Dumber, there was The Jerk. The first starring role of the now legendary Steve Martin. It was even written by Martin, and it is truly a comedy classic. A box office smash when it was released it is now considered one of the greatest comedy motion pictures of all time. Made on a low budget of 4 million, the film made over 73 million. It’s without a doubt Steve Martins best film, and that is saying something. It was a laugh riot in 1979 and is still hilarious to this day.
Martin plays Navin Johnson, who according to his narrative was raised a poor black child. See he was adopted by a family of African Americans, and he truly believes he is black. When he is finally told he’s white he becomes distraught that he is going to stay that color. One night he hears a song on the radio and begins dancing. He finds out the song was played in a radio station out of St Louis so he decides to set off and head there. That begins a wild cross county journey the likes of which you have never seen.
Navin get a dog he names “Shit-head”. He gets a job at a gas station and becomes overly excited when the new phone books come in as his name is in it, and you can’t be somebody until your name is in the phone book. While working there a customer comes in whose glasses keep falling off. Navin adds a handle and a nose guard to it to keep it from slipping. Unfortunately for Navin a nut picks his name out of random in the phone book and goes to kill him. Navin escapes, and to make a long story short joins a circus, meets the woman of his dreams, and eventually becomes wealthy thanks to his eye glass holders.
I first saw this film when I was a young kid. It was funny then, and it’s just as funny now. The Jerk is in my opinion the greatest slapstick comedy ever made. The jokes are timeless. Sight gags, one lines, and visual jokes you name it. They fly fast and furious and never stop. The cast is a comedic who’s who. Aside from Martin you have Bernadette Peters, M. Emmet Walsh, Jackie Mason, Mabel King, Carl Reiner, and more. The humor is timeless, and vulgar in spots but never to the point of offensive or to crude. This really is the true definition of stupid humor. Its rated R so it’s not really a family film. But it’s much different than the toilet humor R rated films of today.
The film is getting ready to celebrate its 40th anniversary, and in honor of that Shout Factory is releasing a collector’s edition under their Shout Select line. I could not wait to see it, and I was not disappointed. The transfer in terms of video and audio is amazing. It has never looked or sounded better. The new cover art is fantastic, and it even has a nice amount of special features.
NEW Remastered from a Brand-New 2K Transfer
NEW A Conversation with Steve Martin and Carl Reiner
NEW A Conversation with Writers Michael Elias and Carl Gottlieb
Learn How to Play "Tonight no not You Belong To Me"
The Lost Film Strips of Father Carlos Las Vegas De Cordova
Trailers & Radio Spots
For a film to be funny for 40 years is an accomplishment as humor in general is timeless, but the style of humor changes with the times. I can promise you this is the true definition of timeless. I laughed just as hard today as I did when I saw it many man years ago. It really is one of the greatest comedies of all time. If you have never seen it you need to. If you’re a fan you need to add this to your collection. It’s an amazing Blu-ray of a groundbreaking comedy.
Overall 4.5 out of 5 Stars!