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The Jerk (SE)
DVD disk
08.09.2005 By: Scott Weinberg
The Jerk (SE) order
Director:
Carl Reiner

Actors:
Steve Martin
Bernadette Peters
Bill Macy

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A dumb white goofball who was raised by black folks wanders through a series of nutty misadventures, lands a sweet girlfriend, and accidentally becomes a multi-millionaire. But then he loses it all, because he's a jerk.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
One of the true comedy classics of the late-1970s, The Jerk was Steve Martin's first big "break out" movie. (Kind of exactly like Ace Ventura was for Jim Carrey.) Sure, the movie's not much more than a barely-connected string of silly skits, sketches, and centerpieces, but it's still got Steve Martin at his wildest, craziest, and most bizarrely lovable.

The Jerk is the sort of cable flick that's always good for a dozen solid laughs; as the outrageously stupid Navin Johnson, Martin bumbled his way into several silly scrapes, most memorably his escape from a lunatic sniper ("He hates these cans!"), a beach-side singing session with the lovely Bernadette Peters, and the hysterically doofy way that Navin goes from tycoon to stooge in less than one day.

If you look at the Steve Martin of today and find yourself thinking "Y'know, this guy doesn't like all that wild, nor does he seem particularly crazy..." then you owe it to yourself to dig back into the DVD pile and grab a handful of flicks like The Jerk, All of Me, and The Man with Two Brains. You'll see a canny comedian who's just as slyly smart and he is supremely silly, and you'll easily understand how he became one of today's comedy greats. The Jerk might not be Steve's best movie, but it was his first tailor-made vehicle, and the guy delivered a bases-clearing triple in his very first trip to the plate.

THE EXTRAS
For a "26th Anniversary Edition," the extra features are pretty darn sparse -- and the ones that are offered, well, they're actually quite stinky.

First up is a Ukulele Lesson. Yes, seriously. You too can learn how to play "Tonight You Belong to Me" -- just like in the movie! (Whoopie.) There's also a 4-minute extended scene that offers more of the "Father Carlos" footage, not that you'll actually want it. And then there's some text production notes and The Jerk's theatrical trailer.

Yep, comedy fans, that's it, extras-wise. Makes no sense to me, considering how much money this movie's made and how many fans it has. Would it have been so tough to get a few commentary participants or interview segments? Apparently so!

FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Although the extras stink on dry ice, it's really great to finally own this classic comedy in its original Widescreen format. The flick looks and sounds as good as it ever has, and the movie's ultimately what matters. (I'd have dropped an extra 10 bucks for a Steve Martin commentary track, though.)
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