Kyle Cubr reviews “The Errand Boy” on Cine-File

subtext-eyePlaying the affable but dim-witted Morty S. Tashman (the ’S’ stands for scared), Jerry Lewis mixes his trademark slapstick with screwball comedy in THE ERRAND BOY, a film that satirizes the Hollywood studio system and its inner-workings. Tasked by the executives of Paramutual Pictures with spying on their studio to see what their money is buying them, Morty blunders his way from office to office and set to set, creating chaos wherever he goes. Whether it’s the bright-eyed, enthusiastic extras or the big-shot directors, all facets of filmdom are shown, including even their internal motivations and aspirations. Paramount shows a good sense of humor by parodying themselves throughout. The famous ‘Pantomime Scene’ in which Morty sits in the executive’s chair, chomping on a cigar and gesturing furiously while a brass score swells is the film’s most iconic and tongue-in-cheek moment. For a film this wacky, there is a surprising amount of self-reflection. Morty’s soliloquy with an ostrich puppet about how he’s not the sharpest mind but isn’t dumb serves as an apt metaphor for the disconnect between studios heads’ expectations of their audience’s intelligence and the reality that viewers are quite adept. Perhaps the greatest parody of all here is that of the real-life relationship between Jerry Lewis and Paramount. The two entities are inexplicably intertwined and the imagined humble beginnings of the comedy legend at the studio only add to his humorous ethos. Preceded by a short reel of outtakes from Lewis’ THE LADIES MAN

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