Home Movies by Decade Movies - 1970s Jerk, The (1979)

Jerk, The (1979)

Adopting behaviour patterns reminiscent of Jerry Lewis in his heyday, comedian Steve Martin bulldozed his way through The Jerk, an uneven comedy whose hit-and-miss approach to the material nonetheless yielded more laughs than groans.

Martin played the adopted son of black parents (Mabel King and Richard Ward) who, upon finally learning of his parental situation, leaves home with the family dog.

He becomes a gas station attendant for Harry Hartounian (Jackie Mason) and the driver of an amusement park train. It is the saga of how Martin copes with the outside world that forms the bulk of the screenplay (which Martin collaborated on with Carl Gottlieb and Martin Elias).

The women in his life were played by Bernadette Peters (pictured) and Caitlin Adams, but they took third place to the sight gags and off-the-cuff non-sequiturs which abound – and overall enjoyment of this film depends largely on whether or not you like the star to begin with.

jerk_bernadette

Navin/Cat Juggler
Steve Martin
Marie
Bernadette Peters
Patty Bernstein
Catlin Adams
Mother
Mabel King
Father
Richard Ward
Taj
Dick Anthony Williams
Stan Fox
Bill Macy
Madman
M. Emmet Walsh
Frosty
Dick O’Neill
Hobart
Maurice Evans
Hester
Helena Carroll
Elvira 
Renn Woods
Harry Hartounian
Jackie Mason
Father De Cordoba
Domingo Ambriz

Director
Carl Reiner