To Catch A Cop

In his stunning performance with the 1983 film THE KING OF COMEDY, Jerry Lewis surprised many as a serious actor with considerable talent. It appeared he had taken a new turn in his career after a long period of increasingly inept and inane films. Instead, Lewis went to France where he is canonized as the real king of comedy, a clown who ranks with cinema's...read more

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In his stunning performance with the 1983 film THE KING OF COMEDY, Jerry Lewis surprised many as a serious actor with considerable talent. It appeared he had taken a new turn in his career after a long period of increasingly inept and inane films. Instead, Lewis went to France where he is

canonized as the real king of comedy, a clown who ranks with cinema's greatest names. While American critics continue to castigate his work, the French have held a retrospective of his oeuvre at the illustrious Cinematheque Francaise. So perhaps it made sense for Lewis to go to the country that

adored him rather than take a risky shot as a serious actor. In this, the first of his two French movies released in 1984, Lewis plays a cop from Las Vegas visiting his ex-wife (Turckeim). She is now remarried to Frenchman Blanc, and the two men can't stand each other. Lewis, the tall and cocky

American, is fond of pulling practical jokes on the shorter, meeker Blanc. Eventually Blanc gets fed up with Lewis and decides to get even. He's also a cop, working on cracking a gang of art smugglers, and he gets the unwitting Lewis in on the case. Though Lewis didn't write or direct, the film

has the same feelings as his later directorial efforts. In other words, it stinks. The comedy is witless, and there's something genuinely pathetic about seeing the 56-year-old Lewis running around with the same high-pitched squeal he'd been using for almost 30 years. The direction more or less

gives him free reign to pull his schtick, with terrible results. Lewis looks like a bad imitation of his younger self, merely going through the motions of this poorly written comedy. Director Gerard formerly was employed as a movie theater manager; one wishes he had remained at that job for all

the skill he shows here. Lewis followed this with another French comedy later in the year, an equally poor effort. (In French.)