The Jerk

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Universal Released 1979

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Movie Summary

Director:
Carl Reiner
Released:
1979
Rating:
R
The Jerk is one of Steve Martin's classics, his first full-length film that in 1979 defined his comedy and established his reputation as an American entertainer. The film is directed by Carl Reiner. Navin R. Johnson (Martin) is an imbecile who only late in life figures out that he was adopted by an African-American family. He sets off into the world to find himself and hitchhikes to St. Louis. He finds a dog along the way which he nicknames with an expletive. He gets a job at a gas station, where in a moment of inspiration, he invents a device that helps a man keep his glasses on his nose. The man departs promising half the profits for the invention. Because of a random attack from a sniper, Navin ends up running away to a circus. There he falls in love with Marie Johnson (Bernadette Peters), but she leaves him for financial reasons. Later, the invention pays off, but not the way Navin expected, and he is reunited with Marie. The whole story is outlandish and unbelievable but filled with Martin's wit and charm.moreless

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Metacritic Score

  • 100

    Empire William Thomas

    Loud and ludicrous, The Jerk is a strong contender for the funniest film of all time.

  • 50

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    I didn't find "The Jerk" very funny...There's a smarmy undercurrent in this movie that seems to imply that Steve Martin may be playing a jerk, but that we all know what a cool guy ...

  • 50

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Ray Conlogue

    Director Carl Reiner has put it together so that the character (hardly) ever becomes boring, and the Martin-Carl Gottlieb-Michael Elias screenplay has just enough genuinely witty m...

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More Info About This Movie

Categories

Comedy, Drama

Themes

Slapstick, Dark Comedy