By John Horn
12:52 PM EDT, May 24, 2013
Given that he hasn’t had a good joke since Eisenhower was in the White House, Jerry Lewis probably shouldn’t have complained that he doesn’t find female comedians funny.
At a Cannes Film Festival news conference to tout his new film, “Max Rose,” the 87-year-old former telethon host said of women stand-ups, "It bothers me. I cannot sit and watch a lady diminish her qualities to the lowest common denominator. I just can't do that."
Even though Lewis’ slapstick shtick makes him a Nobel Prize expert on lowest-common-denominator gags, it was a poorly timed complaint, given that a) about the only thing that critics found funny in “The Hangover Part III” is the work of comedian Melissa McCarthy and b) that Cannes critics, who often fawn over Lewis, found the male humor (Lewis’, to be precise) in “Max Rose” to be as painful as most enhanced interrogation techniques.
Here are excerpts from some of the early, eviscerating “Max Rose” reviews.
"Even making allowances for the veneration of French cinephiles for the work of Jerry Lewis, it’s hard to comprehend the inclusion in the official Cannes selection of 'Max Rose,' a staggeringly artless geriatric soap that sinks its dentures into every trite platitude about aging, mortality, regret and surrender, only to regurgitate them again and again. Starring as a jazz pianist, Lewis says of one particular gig, 'I was playing simplistically and way too melodramatic.' Sadly, he could be talking about any aspect of this sub-Hallmark Channel schmaltz."
"Max Rose discovers that his wife had been hiding something from him for over fifty years and with a mixture of grief and anger overwhelming him Max decides that he must discover what happened between her and a man named Ben. If Max was a compellingly written character this hunt might be of some interest, although the search mostly involves him frantically looking through pictures whilst an apparition of his wife talks to him, but there’s almost nothing in the writing to encourage an audience to engage with Max or the film in general. Add to this some truly awful dialogue, which generally attempts to spell out the already sparse plot, all of which is so poorly delivered that one wonders if they only shot one take, and it’s hard to see how anyone involved considered this effort good enough to release. The production design and cinematography also come up sorely lacking, with a flat and lifeless look to the film only adding to the overall dullness."
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