"Plastered in Paris" relies very heavily on the sort of ethnic humour that's no longer very funny. Quite often, a joke which is now taboo (for reasons of Political Correctness) is still transgressive enough to make us laugh anyway... but most of the ethnic jokes in "Plastered in Paris" are simply not funny any more, even for those of us who like our jokes non-PC.
A beak-nosed actor(?) named Sammy Cohen plays a beak-nosed guy named Sammy Nosenblum who (in case you haven't figured it out) is Jewish. This movie's dialogue has lots and lots and lots of bad jokes about Nosenblum's big nose. This movie probably holds the record for the largest number of big-nosed Jew jokes containing the least amount of actual wit. Sammy Nosenblum is a Jewish stereotype, but don't get the idea that this movie is singling out the Jews... because Sammy's pal is Bud Swenson, a stereotypical dumb Swede.
During the war, Sammy and Bud were privates in the AEF infantry, serving in France. Now, ten years after the Armistice, the two pals return to Paris for the American Legion convention. Bud is trying to locate the French ma'mselle he fell in love with during the war. Meanwhile, Sammy is always getting in trouble because he steals things. But it's not his fault: he got caught in a gas attack, and the gas turned him into a kleptomaniac. (If you say so.) A bit actor named August Tollaire has a funny scene as a French quack doctor who tries to treat Sammy's kleptomania.
Halfway through the movie, it throws out the uninteresting plot and comes up with a more interesting one. Sammy and Bud, looking for the American Legion convention in Paris, mistakenly go to the Foreign Legion headquarters, and of course they accidentally enlist. Next thing they know, they've been shipped out to North Africa ... and now the movie turns into a parody of "Beau Geste". Ivan Linow does a funny turn as the taskmaster sergeant of the Legion regiment. (Linow was a gigantic coarse-featured man who had a good career in Hollywood silents, playing huge tough guys ... until the talkie revolution revealed that he had a thick Baltic accent).
"Plastered in Paris" has brief moments of amusement, but long dull patches. I doubt that it was especially funny even in 1928. Worse luck, the print I viewed was one of those late silent films released with a track of irrelevant sound effects. These were so exaggerated and distracting, I switched off the audio and watched this film as a silent, which is how it should have been released in the first place. No, on second thought: it shouldn't have been released, full stop. I'll rate "Plaster of Paris" a lowly 2 points out of 10.
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