Helpmates (1932) Poster


User Reviews

Add a Review
20 ReviewsOrdered By: Helpfulness
Absolutely the Classic it's made out to be
royka_act_two1 July 2006
Helpmates has laughs from beginning to end, replete with the slapstick and wordplay that are the trademarks of the greatest film comedy team ever. It's twenty minutes of delight and each gag builds on the one before and sets up the next, a crazy crescendo in a symphony of sublime silliness. The comic Lou Costello was once asked who he thought was the greatest comedy team of all time and he unhesitatingly named Laurel and Hardy. Helpmates is worth many watches. This 1932 short nearly equals their Oscar winning short, The Music Box. See it. Then visit the Boys again and again. Laurel and Hardy - except for their mishandling by Fox in the 1940s -- are, as the great Steve Allen once said - ALWAYS funny.
12 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Laurel and Hardy's Masterpiece
editdave4310 May 2002
Warning: Spoilers
"Helpmates" is arguably Laurel and Hardy's finest sound short. It is the perfect blend of situational humor, surreal dialogue and impeccably timed slapstick that makes this such a joy to watch. While "The Music Box" may have won the Academy Award for the boys, "Helpmates" is a more satisfying experience. The film opens with Ollie scolding the audience for the debauchery that has apparently taken place the night before. "What did you do? I'll tell you what you did. You took advantage of your wife's absense and pulled a wild party! And that's not all. You lost all of your ready money in a poker game! Could anything be more crass? More disgusting? I'll tell you what you are in two words: Dis-picable!" As the camera pulls back, we see that Ollie is actually talking to himself in a mirror. Ollie soon calls Stan to solicit help in cleaning up the house. The telephone conversation that ensues is one of the strangest in the duo's career. "Why weren't you at the party last night?" asks Ollie. "I couldn't make it. A dog bit me," admits Stan. "Where?" asks Ollie. "There," says Stan, holding his bandaged arm to the telephone receiver. Stan adds "And the doctor says I might have hydrophosphates." Ollie tells Stan to come over and "make it snappy." Within seconds of hanging up the phone Stan is at the door. "What took you so long?" quizzes Ollie. "I was talking to you," replies Stan. What follows is nothing short of comedic brilliance. As in their best "deconstructive" comedies ("Two Tars" and "Big Business" come to mind), Stan proceeds to do everything possible to make matters worse for his friend in need. One small mishap builds to an even greater calamity with the master timing of a fine Swiss watch. And yet, as the film comes to a close we see that they have indeed completed their task just in time for Ollie's wife's arrival. That is until Stan decides to light a cozy fire. "Helpmates" is one of those rare comedy shorts that gets funnier with each visit
13 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Boba_Fett113813 July 2006
This is one hilarious Laurel & Hardy comedy short. The story is, as always, deliciously simple. Oliver Hardy just had a wild party in his house the other night. The next morning he hears by telegram that his 'lovely' wife shall return from Chicago were she has been with her mother the last couple of days. Of course the house is a total wreck so in all his panic, Oliver calls his good friend Stanley to help to clean the mess up before Oliver's wife gets home. But of course instead of cleaning up, the boys make an even bigger mess. This is basically the only joke of the movie; the two boys cleaning the mess up. It provides some absolutely hilarious and well executed slapstick sequences. The slapstick moments are amazingly stupid and unlikely but because of that also extremely hilarious. This movie is really filled with great slapstick moments, so fans of slapstick comedy will be absolutely delighted while watching this movie. This is how I want a Laurel & Hardy movie to be; simple, stupid and filled with well executed slapstick humor. 9/10
9 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
The funniest line of all time.
quickdog7 August 2003
This is classic Laurel and Hardy. The origin of Dumb and Dumber and an inspiration for generations of comedians and comedy writers, Laurel and Hardy were the masters of complicating easy tasks beyond the point of minor disaster. Often referred to as the fiddle and the bow, this comedy team started in the silent era with slapstick humor. Many of the comedies revolve around the destruction of cars, for which they found many ways to destroy. Upon the coming of the sound era, many silent stars lost work because of voice flaws (see Singin' In The Rain for a great example) or because they could only do visual slapstick comedy. Laurel and Hardy were able to transcend the silent era of slapstick and successfully incorporate witty dialogue in amongst their visual humor. This two realer is classic as the Boys try and clean up after Ollie's wild party before his wife comes home. The ending of this short comedy has the funniest line of all time. As usual, Laurel and Hardy are their bumbling destructive selves, which of course leads to one laugh right on top of another. As Ollie says in the beginning while looking at himself in the mirror, "I have two words to describe you. Impossible."
9 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Employing Stan's help to clean up - disaster!
naseby1 August 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Ollie's woken up with a sore head after a wild party, (Berating himself in the mirror when we think he was talking to someone else!). Realising the battleaxe of a wife who's away and due to return, will 'return' to the wild party aftermath and suitably make Ollie's life hell in response, he employs the help of Stan, who was absent from the party because of a dog bite, to help clear up. "What's the matter with it?" (The house) says Stan to Ollie - who then states Stan never met his wife, showing Stan a picture emphasising the impending doom by his wife's sour face if the place isn't cleaned up! Mishap after mishap happens, with the place getting wrecked due to Stan's ineptitudes and distractions to Ollie, including the gas cooker blowing up the kitchen. In fact, the only clothing Ollie has left as a result of Stan destroying his wardrobe is a military outfit, complete with feathered hat and ceremonial sword. "You can't go out like that," exclaims Stan, "You haven't got a horse!" The wife rings Ollie, ordering him down to the railroad station to pick her up, leaving Stan to clean up the even newer mess they've created together. Stan is seen standing in the now-cleaned up house, but to add a touch of comfort, decides to light a homely fire for the couple using a generous amount of kerosene. The next scene shows Ollie return to the front of the house, with a black eye and the ceremonial sword bent - to state his wife was none too pleased with waiting so long for him! As he walks through the door, he falls down a couple of feet to find a smouldering wreck of a house! Stan informs him of his attempt to 'build a nice fire' for his pal. Stan says to Ollie: "Well, I guess there's nothing more I can do." "No," replies Ollie, "I guess 'not'!" (As he's done more than enough!) Ollie then says to Stan to close the door as he'd like to be alone. (All the more stupid of course as the walls don't exist anymore!) It ends with Ollie, roofless, sitting in his armchair as if to strive towards normality, with a storm raining down on his head! A nice short, especially the calamitous attempts to clean up and have Ollie at the sharp end of Stan, poking his eye out, drenching his clothes, customary getting bonked on his head, covered in soot and flour, sticking his head through a drawer, wrecking his crockery and assisting blowing up the kitchen and the finale of the inferno!
4 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Another Fun Mess
Snow Leopard10 July 2001
"Helpmates" is one of a number of Laurel and Hardy short comedies based on the simple premise of seeing how much damage two men can do in one home in a short time without really trying. This time, Stan is 'helping' Ollie to clean up his house after a wild party, since Ollie's wife is due home soon. There is a lot of creative slapstick as they get into one mess after another. Most of the gags this time are fairly predictable, but are funny because they're done with good timing and the usual humorous mannerisms. Laurel and Hardy fans won't be disappointed by this one.
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Stan and Ollie take up home repair
MartinHafer21 February 2006
What would you expect from Stan and Ollie when it comes to making home repairs? Yep, absolute chaos and destruction as well as a healthy dose of violence that's highly reminiscent of a Wiley Coyote cartoon. Any normal person would have been killed by all the terrible things that happen to him, but somehow Ollie survives. And, of course, Stanley is about as helpful as an elephant on roller skates. Time and time again, the viewer is rewarded by good old fashioned slapstick that is, at times, painful to watch! While this may not be their absolute best short, it is among their best and well worth your time. Cerebral humor? Nope. But funny? Absolutely.
4 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Cleanin' Up The House With Mr. Laurel & Mr. Hardy
Ron Oliver3 May 2000
Stan & Ollie are HELPMATES, always ready to assist the other out of a jam. So, with his house a wreck after a wild party and his shrew-of-a-wife returning from her Chicago trip in a few hours, Ollie asks Stan to help him clean-up. Perhaps that wasn't the wisest choice... A funny little film, with lots of slapstick humor. Once again, one can't help wondering how Ollie could take so many bonks on the head without it damaging him.
4 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
This is why wives give a warning call when they return from a trip.
mark.waltz6 October 2016
Warning: Spoilers
"Hydra phosfates!"

That's what Stan Laurel claims he got from being bitten by a dig, his reason for not coming over for Oliver's wild party. And now the sour pussed Mrs. Hardy is coming home, which causes Oliver to beg Stan to come over and help him clean up, his first mistake. He'll be lucky if the house is still standing, let alone clean, when wifey dear makes it in.

Practically every married couple can relate to this scenario and I recall my mother always giving the warning call to my father when she'd come home, especially if she was traveling with us kids. Everything that can go wrong does go wrong, and I can just hear that female voice from the "Gilligan's Island" laugh track saying "uh oh!" just as Oliver's head prepares to go through a drawer or be conked on the head by a big tin of flower. This is Laurel and Hardy perfection, a total 10 out of 10.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews