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This is easily the funniest and most deep-down-hardy chuckle inducing film that the fabulous comedy duo of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis have ever starred in. And it makes its predecessor (My Friend Irma) pale in comparison. One of the only sequels I've ever known that's actually better than the original. Even though Dean and Jerry were only given fourth and fifth billing in the picture, because they were still so new in the industry, Jerry Lewis clearly ends up stealing the whole show! In between Dean Martin's dulcet tones as he sings some original songs in the film, Jerry is at his peak, complete with his legendary, goofy humor, delayed-reaction one-liners, and prat falls. He's probably the most valuable asset of the film. But this isn't to undermine the performances of the lead actors, who are also fabulous! Especially the dead-on, hilarious portrayal of Irma, the dizzy blonde, by Marie Wilson. Her character's innocent and gullible absent-mindedness which lands her in so much trouble will definitely provide some GOOD laughs...Definitely! This is the first review of this film on this site, and therefore the first one people will see when they look up this reference page, so I'm really trying to do it justice in my review. Let me just say that this movie is most probably the funniest picture of its era, and you can quote me on that. Way ahead of its time, it's hard to believe that this was produced half a century ago! Even my seven-year-old sister loves it, and it's HARD to win her over! Please give it a chance. I can promise that if you have even an inkling of a sense of humor inside you, you'll laugh so much that it'll be hard to find time for eating popcorn between chuckles! My rating for My Friend Irma Goes West, a solid, perfect 10. But 10 isn't really high enough for it. My own opinion of it surpasses 10 ineffably.
Although this picture was made as a sequel to MY FRIEND IRMA it took on a life of its own because of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. Martin & Lewis were virtual unknowns when they were featured in the first Irma, were still unknowns when Goes West was filmed. BUT... but... by the time this film was released the boys had become the hottest comedy team in American history. This film was a smash hit almost entirely because it featured Martin & Lewis. When the boys' next movie came out, At War with the Army, I remember me and my brother waited 2 1/2 hours at Loew's 2400 seat Palace theater in Washington, DC to get in. This was during the movies lean years when folks were staying home with their 7" Motorola b&w TV's. Odd to recently see VHS copies of that picture on sale at Safeway for 99 cents. OH... My Friend Irma Goes West was very funny!
For their second film Martin and Lewis did a sequel to My Friend Irma
taken from Marie Wilson's popular radio comedy where John Lund finally
got Wilson to the altar and Wilson and best friend and roommate Diana
Lynn was also marrying Martin.
The weddings were forgotten in My Friend Irma Goes West as Dean Martin guest stars on a radio program and attracts the attention of film star Corinne Calvet to the jealousy of Diana Lynn. Lund is also footloose and fancy free again with his eternal get rich quick schemes that were a big component of My Friend Irma.
However Lynn puts her foot down and takes over management of Martin's career and negotiates a contract with a Hollywood mogul. Who turns out to be an escapee from a booby hatch, but our fearless quintet goes out to Hollywood first class for a job that doesn't exist.
Martin's singing and Lewis's clowning do get them noticed in Las Vegas as he gets booked in Bugsy Siegel's up and coming town. And Lund gets outdealed literally by gangster Lloyd Corrigan in a marvelous bit of casting against type. Of course all the financial and romantic problems get sorted out in the end.
When I reviewed the first My Friend Irma film I said that the Irma character would be great for Jessica Simpson to revive. After seeing this film I still maintain that. God has a special province for Marie Wilson's character who just tra-la-la's through life and somehow makes it through.
There's a bit more of Dean and Jerry in this film than the previous one. Their next film would be At War With The Army where they would finally star.
Corinne Calvet talked at length about this film for Nick Tosches's biography of Dean Martin. Her experience in Hollywood was not a happy one and she mentions the casting couch that both Hal Wallis and Darryl Zanuck used with regularity. In her case she was to service them also for her then husband John Bromfield. She said that Dino was a pleasant person to work with, confident and assured. She liked Jerry as well, but felt there was a certain insecurity with him as he was continually 'on' all the time as if trying hard to please.
The film called for her to work with a chimpanzee, her and Jerry and she said the ape was paying close attention to her. She was asked where she was in her menstrual cycle and when she told director Hal Walker, he said the ape was giving her a booty call. That was a bit unnerving, but I'll bet Corinne got passes just as crude from some humans.
The score was written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans and it yielded an early hit for Dean Martin with I'll Always Love You which has a nice Latin flavored tempo to it. My Friend Irma Goes West is still a funny film and the comedy is timeless so it really could be revived today.
Are you reading this Jessica Simpson?
This is a sequel to "My Friend Irma", though oddly it doesn't exactly
pick up where it should. At the very end of the last film, Irma fell
into a construction ditch on the way to the church to FINALLY marry Al.
Now, when this second film begins, Al and Irma are still not married
and there's no explanation as to why.
This film picks up where it began so far as Al (Dean Martin) and his singing career are concerned. He's still singing at small venues and even has a TV appearance--but it pays almost nothing. His problems seem over when a guy comes to the apartment and Jane (Diana Lynn) is able to negotiate a nice Hollywood contract. There's only one problem---the 'producer' is really an escaped mental patient and Al and his friends have no idea they are heading west with no job waiting.
As a result, they find themselves stuck on the way there. They are lucky enough to meet the very hot-to-trot Ms. Yvonne Yvonne--a stereotypical French actress. She offers to have Steve sing in Vegas at nightclub and their financial difficulties are over...for now. But, as Yvonne Yvonne definitely has the hots for Steve, what is Jane to do--especially since she and Steve are engaged?! Later, Al falls in with some illegal gamblers (no big surprise) and goes to work for them. However, while working in their crooked casino, Al's roulette table pays off big--but shouldn't have since the table was supposedly rigged. So, the gangsters decide to make Al and Irma pay. Can they be rescued and can Steve and Jane work out their problems and find happiness? Tune in and see in this modestly diverting film. Oddly, however, the comedic elements (Irma and Seymour) are among the least entertaining aspects of this comedy.
By the way, one thing I loved about this movie and "My Friend Irma" is that Al has no last name. Even when the police question him, he only uses the name Al--as does Irma who refers to herself as the "future Ms. Al". Cute.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A generic plot intermingled with typical silliness moves this along
with a few laughs but mostly loud groans. Martin and Lewis are on the
road to stardom, but it would take one more film before they were solo
stars. This continuation of Marie Wilson's Irma saga ended after only
two films, not able to continue after Dean and Jerry took their teaming
solo. Wilson, the dim-witted title character, may get top billing, but
obviously the focus moved to Martin and Lewis after getting the bulk of
the attention in the first film. It's all about this group's efforts to
get to Hollywood from New York for Dean's singing career and the crazy
antics they become involved in thanks to Wilson and the equally daffy
Lewis. Diana Lynn returns as Martin's girl, their happiness threatened
by sexy movie star Corinne Calvert who sets her eyes on Dino.
The bulk of the plot surrounds the group's involvement with Las Vegas gamblers. Much of the humor is light- hearted slams on stereotypical native Americans, with Lewis an obviously not native as he pretends to be Sioux to try and sell blankets. John Lund is aboard as a gambler friend of Wilson's who finds himself up against card shark shark Lloyd Corrigan and sets up the plot more than half way through the film. Gags before hand are a mixed bag, making thus quickly loose steam. Only when Dean sings does it get going, but unfortunately, he doesn't do it all that much.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Ironically, the first film -- "My Friend Irma" -- was made with Martin
& Lewis being injected into a film that was already undergoing filming.
But, it worked quite well. Here, Martin & Lewis were firmly in place
for this film, and it does pretty well, but it's actually not quite as
good as the original film.
Here the guys and gals head for Hollywood, only to discover that the exciting news of Dean's character getting a Hollywood contract was actually a contract with a lunatic. But, on they go, winding up in Las Vegas where Dean will sing while Irma gets kidnapped. I actually thought the funniest moment of the film was when the kidnappers vie to kill Irma simply because she's so irritating! But there are some good Martin & Lewis moments...although not sure I really wanted to see a half-naked Jerry Lewis as an Indian! Dean has some good numbers: "Baby, Obey Me" ( really good number for Dean; very polished; and even Jerry's clowning works here). "Vagabond Road" (really one of those zany numbers where Dean sings and Jerry clowns; classic Martin & Lewis comedy). "I'll Always Love You" (lovely ballad that resulted in a # 11 hit record for Dean). "The Guitar Band" (another song with help from Jerry; kinda catchy western-themed song).
John Lund again plays Al...and he's beginning to grow on me. Marie Wilson again plays Irma...and I still think she was a better radio star than movie star. Diana Lynn has a pleasant screen personality. Dean does well here...quite poised for someone so new to Hollywood. Jerry is what Jerry always was...up to you whether you approve or disapprove. Corinne Calvet...what was it that made her a star? Guess just the accent. I always enjoy seeing Lloyd Corrigan, here as the gambling thug..
My favorite Martin & Lewis film? Not even close. But it's fun and worth a watch.
Having just rewatched My Friend Irma on YouTube, I decided to finally watch the sequel on the same site. Once again, Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis are once again shoehorned into the movie plot of characters originally based on a radio sitcom featuring Jane Stacy (Diana Lynn), her scatterbrained roommate Irma Peterson (Marie Wilson) and Irma's con artist boyfriend Al (John Lund). Martin & Lewis are once again singer Steve & partner Seymour and once again they do their nightclub act that, while hilarious, doesn't really have anything to do with the plot which takes them out of New York City to at least Las Vegas since the Hollywood offer from a "producer" turns out to be...oh, watch the movie to find out. There's also a French film actress named Yvonne Yvonne (Corinne Calvet) with a monkey in tow added. The former to challenge Steve's fidelity to Jane and the latter to provide Seymour some more funny business. What I haven't said of the plot gets even more contrived than previously and most of the last 15 minutes or so isn't as funny as the first hour. But the cast once again try their best, Dean's crooning is as swoon-worthy as ever, and Jerry, for the most part, gets plenty of moments to shine. So on that note, My Friend Irma Goes West is recommended.
The only thing this movie lacked was plot and humor, which both started out promising. The plot was slow. The songs were slow and not as catchy as in the first movie. And Dean Martin was not the cowboy type. The transition between "My Friend Irma" and "My Friend Irma Goes West" was not smooth. I thought they got married in the end of the first movie, and what happened to all the money Irma won? I was very disappointed with Jerry Lewis' performance, he was just goofy in this movie, not very funny. When Martin and Lewis were together it seemed more like an act, separated from the main plot. It was a cute movie but lacked the charm of the first movie. If your going to see one, see "My Friend Irma"!
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