Wednesday, July 11, 2007
One highlight of the recent film festival was the comedy HIGHBALL. Elsewhere I have expressed my problems with getting other people to enjoy it along with me, but McNeil was happy - and he is ordinarily a very sullen man. He noted that in the last section of the film, the actor Carlos Jacott (pictured, right, in a role on SEINFELD) was dressed and possibly coifed in the style of Jerry Lewis in the climactic prom scene of THE NUTTY PROFESSOR. In fact, Jacott begins the movie as a boor in the "Buddy Love" tradition and makes the opposite of the Lewis transformation - into an odd, awkward man-child. The scene in which he sits on a couch eating something very crunchy for a very long time is right out of the Lewis playbook. (We had the chance to note several times during the festival that Mr. Lewis enjoys milking a gag past all reasonable limits, often to good effect. One example: he bangs his head on a metal sculpture in CRACKING UP and it reverberates musically for several minutes afterward, rendering an important conversation impossible. Ha ha ha!) And no, we are not just seeing Jerry Lewis everywhere. Earlier in HIGHBALL, Peter Bogdanovich impersonates Lewis - proof, we feel, of purposeful homage.