In search of Video Hell? You're there when you pop this tape into your VCR. Not only is it a Jerry Lewis movie, but it's also one of the two French-lensed vehicles which he starred in during the '80s, and which (justifiably) never stank up US theatres. (The other, HOLD ME BACK OR I'LL HAVE AN ACCIDENT co-stars Michel Blanc, and is reportedly the better of the two.) Well, this aging greaseball sure took the money and ran with this turd. It makes his low-grade bumbling in HARDLY WORKING look like SHINE. On top of that, there's the numbing concept of Jerry dubbed into French, while retaining all of his grossest vocal mannerisms. First off, the nearly 60-year-old Jerry plays Clovis Blaireau, the bastard love child from a WWII schtupp. Presently, he lives above a French gym for fat chicks (which, when they get shaking, makes his dishes tumble out of the cupboards), and sets up a detective agency that has him following a cheating husband (played by director-writer Philippe Clair). Along the way, hilarity ensues when Jerry gets into an auto accident, and the entire chassis of his car falls off, in pieces! Later, in the middle of posh party, he begin knocking over expensive knick-knacks! Stop! Stop! My sides are aching from uncontrollable laughter!... But seriously, this shit reeks. And it only gets worse. Soon afterward, Lewis and Clair become pals, hit a disco together ("Boogie!" Jerry hollers), are both accused of attempted murder, and stowaway on a flight to Tunisia (with Jerry accidentally tearing off the stewardess' skirt, for a little Benny Hill-style leering). Taking on fake identities, they're mistaken for Mafia chefs and are pulled into a fast food feud involving Arabian cous-cous, Italian spaghetti, and US hamburgers--with business tycoon Ben Burger hoping to wipe out all of his hideously stereotyped competition. All of this is so deadening that it borders on the surreal. And no longer the innocent, good-hearted klutz, Jerry seems more like a cackling, certifiable madman. At the very least, you get to see Jerry wandering around a topless pool; catch his Japanese schtick, complete with huge buck teeth; and finally, lead an action-packed finale on Burger's mansion! It's Ram-bozo! Afterward, the survivors are rewarded with outtakes, when they tried to film it in phonetic English. If you're curious, the reason for the Tunisian setting is due to producer Tarak Ben Ammar, who tried to make his homeland desirable by dropping Jerry into the middle of it. Personally, if I was a prospective tourist, that'd be the kiss of death... Barren of laughs, even hardcore Lewis fans will be hard-pressed to sit through this abysmal pic without some type of lower intestinal distress.
© 1997 by Steven Puchalski.