Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 1963. Paramount Pictures. Screenplay by Jerry Lewis, Bill Richmond.Cinematography by W. Wallace Kelley.Produced by Ernest D. Glucksman. Music by Walter Scharf. Production Design by Hal Pereira, Walter H. Tyler. Costume Design by Edith Head. Film Editing by John Woodcock.
Jerry Lewis is an absolute riot in this comedy which he also directed and co-wrote. He plays a hopelessly nerdy science professor whose specialty is thinking up lab experiments that blow his entire university up. The friendship of a beautiful student (Stella Stevens) as well as bullying from tough gym students inspire him to want to be more aggressive, so he comes up with a potion that has a Jekyll-and-Hyde effect on him. When he takes it, he turns into smart-mouthed, debonair, classy and popular Buddy Love, a lounge singer who can land any girl he wants. Eventually, Buddy Love gets to be so popular that Lewis is having a tough time spending his days as one person and his nights as another. The speech that he gives in the gymnasium at the end of the film is far too long and mostly unnecessary, but the rest of the time it’s a hilariously wry film that bounces along smoothly. Lewis’ Buddy Love was reportedly based on his ex-performing partner Dean Martin, not that you have to look to hard to see the imitation.