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Reviews & Ratings for
Helpmates More at IMDbPro »

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Index 17 reviews in total 

20 minutes of legendary genius.

Author: prichards12345 from United Kingdom
27 November 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is surely one of Laurel and Hardy's greatest moments. A masterpiece of disaster and mayhem: of course it's the one where Ollie's thrown a wild party, discovers his wife is coming home unexpectedly, and calls on Stan to help clean up. Yep, you read that correctly. He might as well have called in an earthquake!

The 20 minutes just zips by in a succession of lightning-fast sight gags and slapstick, and from it's wonderful opening (Ollie admonishing someone off camera, only for the viewer to discover he's talking to himself in the mirror!), to its hysterical ending, this is just pure cinematic joy.

Poor old Ollie dressed in his Freemason outfit (for years I thought he was a fancy dress admiral)with black eye and bent sword, brought tears of laughter to my eyes. This film is is 83 years old. The boys have a magic that has never diminished. And I don't think it ever will.

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Possibly their best

Author: Thomas ( from Berlin, Germany
9 July 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a black-and-white, 20-minute short movie from over 80 years ago and it stars early movie legends Laurel & Hardy (both in their early 40s here). I watched Academy Award winner "The Music Box" yesterday, their most famous probably, and I was pretty disappointed. But not so by this one. It starts pretty great already with Hardy's mirror talk and stays strong when Laurel enters the picture. Hardy had a big party and the house is a mess. Unlucky for him that his wife comes home soon, so it's high time to get everything back in order again. He decides to invite his pal Laurel and the two start tidying up. Of course, if you know them, you will not be surprised at all that everything just becomes a bigger mess and, in the end, the entire house burns down. Looks like there is one thing worse than tidying up with Laurel and that is letting him tidy up on his own.

I quite enjoyed this short movie. The first half was certainly better than the second in my opinion, but it's never weak or boring. I even felt a bit sorry for Hardy in the end. He literally lost everything. But he took it like a man. The makers behind this are Parrott, Walker and Roach and this trio worked on many occasions with our two heroes. In my opinion, this may be their best effort. I guess the more they talk, the more I like it and there are quite a few dialogs in here. The jokes are funny and same goes for the physical component of this film. The slapstick and the situations in which Ollie is in so much trouble again are hilarious most of the time. A really good early short film. Recommended.

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Structurally insanity at its finest

Author: Steve Pulaski from United States
25 December 2014

Finally, at long last, I have stumbled upon a Laurel and Hardy short that perfectly balances slapstick comedy and verbal banter to create a short that is a winning combination of the both, without being too reliant on the former. Helpmates concerns Hardy, who awakens after an evidently-raucous party took place in his apartment, with everything in total disarray and his wife coming home that very day. Hardy - after giving himself quite the hilarious lecture in the mirror - does all he can when he wakes up with a hangover and without a clue; he phones Laurel, who rushes over (after playing the most believable rendition of stupid and witless) to help his longtime pal clean up before the arrival of his wife.

Helpmates is the classic comedy short that derives its humor from the thesis question "just how much can go wrong for these two well-meaning individuals?" So much destruction and chaos is caused by trying to remedy the situation than was in the process of not even caring about the situation or the well-being of the house during the unseen party, it seems. Windows are broken, people are injured, and a cacophony of madness ensues for the boys as they try to do the right thing but end up doing everything completely and totally wrong.

Helpmates delicately balances the insanity with the narratively witty, setting up the short in a "one thing leads to another" manner rather than just having a plethora of ridiculousness cobbled together with no rhyme or reason. There's a structurally insanity to Helpmates that makes it so fun, and the age-old idea of destroying something even more when you're trying to fix it almost never gets old. This is one of the most fun Laurel and Hardy shorts I know, even more so considering it was a recipe for slapstick monotony.

Starring: Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. Directed by: James Parrott.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:


Author: Jackson Booth-Millard from United Kingdom
24 January 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy are the most famous comedy duo in history, and deservedly so, so I am happy to see any of their films. Ollie's house is a mess after a drunken party, and he gets a telegram saying his wife (Blanche Payson) will be home at noon, so he calls Stan (getting the phone mistaken for an alarm clock, and then swapping for a statue), who was bitten by a dog, went to hospital and was told by the doctor he might have "hydrophosphates" (hydrophobia), to help clean up. Stan washes the dirty dishes, which he drops, and Ollie manages to use butter as soap, opening the door gets covered in smoke from the breaking pipe, and flour from the near cupboard. After Ollie has changed his clothes, Stan is trying to unblock the sink to tip away the washing up water, but instead throws the water on, and then out the window, on Ollie (twice), and in anger he throws a plant through the house, hitting a neighbour with a hose pipe, which goes through the house (obviously the water going on Ollie). After causing an explosion with the oven gas (which Ollie was using to dry his wet clothes), Ollie changes into his admiral's uniform, and returns home from seeing the wife with a black eye, a house destroyed by Stan lighting gasoline in the fireplace, and getting rained on. Filled with good slapstick and all classic comedy you want from a black and white film, it is an enjoyable film. Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were number 7 on The Comedians' Comedian. Worth watching!

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Three of Their Best

Author: Michael_Elliott from Louisville, KY
10 March 2008

Helpmates (1932)

*** 1/2 (out of 4)

Mrs. Hardy is out of town so Hardy throws a big party. When the wife plans on returning home early Hardy must get Laurel to help him clean the house. Another wonderful short has non-stop laughs from start to finish. There really isn't one skit that sticks out but instead the laughs just build up.

Our Wife (1931)

*** 1/2 (out of 4)

Hardy and his fiancé have to run off to get married so they get Laurel for help, which of course leads to disaster. There are plenty of wonderful jokes and gags here including the small limousine and the best one when Hardy falls into a cake and brings a lot more with him.

Me and My Pal (1933)

*** (out of 4)

Hardy is about to be married but Laurel gives him a jigsaw puzzle for a wedding gift. The two start working on it and forget all about the wedding. This is more amusing than funny, although the final riot does get plenty of laughs.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Good routines with good finish

Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom
1 July 2003

When the cat's away the mice will play. This is true when Mrs Hardy goes out of town and Ollie has a huge party that sees his house a mess and his cash lost on poker games. When a telegram arrives telling Ollie that his wife is due back at noon that day, Ollie turns to Stanley for help tidying the house – that was his first mistake.

Similar in style to many of their other shorts, this film sees the duo's attempts to fix/tidy the house actually results in more damage than existed in the first place. The set up with Ollie addressing himself (but seems like it's the audience) is a little strange but once the film moves into the whole cleaning up business it does get a lot better. Ollie goes flying over a hoover on several occasions and his suit frequent changes grow increasingly amusing. It goes without saying that the degree of mishap that Laurel causes increases throughout the film and the punchline, although not hilarious, is a good conclusion.

In terms of cast Laurel and Hardy pretty much carry this themselves. Payson makes a brief appearance as Mrs Hardy but her role is to be plain and aggressive rather than funny. That said, the film doesn't really need anyone else as the pair do good work. Hardy bears the brunt of the physical work but also does good `to camera' looks. Laurel does his usual shtick but I always think he does a lot of work `off the ball' to use a football term. Because Hardy more often is the focus of the punchline (ie the look or the fall) I always tend to notice him and forget the involvement of Laurel in the set up or enabling the film to move on – that was the case here.

Overall this is an enjoyable short that sees the tried and tested formula of `chores go wrong' used to good effect.

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3 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Not The Classic it's Made Out To be

Author: Theo Robertson from Isle Of Bute, Scotland
21 September 2005

'm slightly puzzled by the high regard HELPMATES is held in . Some people have described it as Stan and Ollie's masterpiece while just about everyone class it as being well above average . BBc 2 showed it immediately after THE CHIMP which had me laughing out loud but this one merely amused me . I guess like so much in life a Laurel and Hardy film is subject to personal opinion

The film starts with Ollie waking up with a hangover finding his house in a mess after a wild party something his wife will literally kill him for so he phones up Stan asking him to come on over and help clear up the mess . It's at this point logic disappears out of the window . If you needed a hand to do something would Stan Laurel be the first name to come to mind ? Likewise there's little evidence Stan attended the party , if a mate asked you to help clear up a mess the day after a party that you weren't invited you what would your response be ? Exactly . The humour then centres around pratfalls and Stan getting bullied by Ollie which comes across as rather unpleasant , of course Ollie might regret his authoritarianism by the end which he does but with the exception of Stan saluting Ollie's change of clothes there wasn't much here that made me laugh

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