- Movie Rating -

The Man With Two Brains (1983)

| June 3, 1983

Here’s my confession of the week: I found Steve Martin to be hysterically funny in his stand-up and on SNL but to this point I never found him funny in a movie.  The Jerk was a awful, Pennies from Heaven was baffling, and Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid was a funny gimmick that ran dry very fast.  But finally, here we are, a movie that won’t have an exhibit at the Comedy Hall of Fame, but a movie that made me laugh about 40% of the time.  That’s high praise.

The Man With Two Brains is a parody of all those mad scientist movies from Frankenstein to Bride of Frankenstein and all of it’s knock offs and there’s even room for a parody of Rebecca and Body Heat.  It is another collaboration between Martin and director Carl Reiner and it’s a silly send-up of mad scientist movies with the comedian playing Michael Hfuhruhurr, a name that is funnier said than heard.  He a neurosurgeon who runs over a beautiful woman named Dolores (Kathleen Turner) with his car, performs brain surgery on her and falls in love with her, fortunately in that order.

Dolores turns out to a scheming gold-digger who loves to screw around behind his back and keeps pretending to be too ill to consummate their marriage.  While in Vienna (see if you can follow this), Michael falls in love with a brain in a jar housed at the la-bor-atory of a certain Dr. Necessiter whom he discovers that he can communicate with telepathically.  He puts a hat on the jar and even gives it wax lips.  Would it be possible that he might want to transfer this brain into the voluptuous body of Dolores?

It doesn’t really matter because this movie is not so much interested in a story.  It is an excuse for sight gags, puns, double-entendres, slackstick and dirty jokes.  I laughed more than I thought that I would.  I laughed at a gag in which Michael asks the portrait of his former wife for permission to remarry and her ghost responds by tearing the room apart.  I laughed at Germany’s road side drunk test which includes tap dancing and juggling oranges.  I laughed at Necessiter’s office which is decorated exactly like Frankenstein’s lab.

Look, there’s no science to this.  You either laugh or you don’t laugh, and yes, I laughed a good bit.  It’s too silly for some, but they can have their objections.  The Man With Two Brains is not for everyone, but thankfully it was for me.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1983) View IMDB Filed in: Comedy