Artists and Models

Artists and models ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Director: Frank Tashlin. Cast: Dean MartinJerry LewisShirley MacLaine, Eva Gabor

By the time “Artists and models” came out in 1955, Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin had perfected the formula, as this was their 14th collaboration in the space of less than 6 years and there’s no denying that their chemistry is palpable. The film today feels like a little time capsule of distant, naive and (arguably) easier times when a woman being kissed by a stranger by mistake was played for laugh, when a grown man could take child off the street and dance with her without being called a pedophile and 2 men could live in a flat together and sleep in the same bedroom without any sexual connotations. Jean-Luc Godard at the time called it “an acme of stupidity… though believe it or not, it was intended as a compliment. Beyond the absurd and convoluted storylines (which includes a rather ludicrous, random and fairly abrupt plot involving state secrets from about half way through) and Dean Martin’s all pretty interchangeable songs, the film looks rather flashy and colourful, in a typical style of musicals of those years. They actually do make a point of enhancing anything to do with colours, starting off with cans of paint being dropped over a few people from the top of some scaffolding, going through bright primal coloured costumes and swimming suits and ending with a brash large Hollywood style musical number where women actually come out of paint cans.

In some ways the film feels absolutely dated but also ahead of its time.

Jerry Lewis as wacky as ever does what he can do best: physical comedy, slapstick and a little bit of singing too. I watched this with the family and a few scenes had us all laughing out-loud tonight: I can safely say that my 8 years old son is now a fan. The bit on the stairs as the lovely Shirley MacLaine sings to the top of her lungs is classic Jerry Lewis.

Just hang your brains at the door and be willing to go with its fluffy charm.

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