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Three on a Couch
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Three on a Couch More at IMDbPro »

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15 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Three strikes and you're in

Author: Kakueke
15 December 2001

Dr. Acord (played by Janet Leigh), Christopher Pride's fiancee, is a psychiatrist with three attractive female patients who have problems with men, played out in extreme dependence on her. Chris (Jerry Lewis) wants to go on an extended vacation with her. To ease Dr. Acord's conscience in putting a hiatus on their frequent visits, he decides to be a beau to all three at once, with separate fake identities, to rectify their maladjustments. Lewis shows his varied talents for goofiness in playing three different types of people -- actually four, because in one case he also plays the sister, and in this dual role he is goofy at its most extreme, and very funny.

The humor is cornball, but it is enjoyable. Jerry is a klutz -- not in a cheap slapstick way, but rather because he is a man out of place-- a zoologist, a rodeo star, and a fitness nut. But the ladies are each taken, and it is great. A nice syrupy ending too. "Three on a Couch" is a very enjoyable romantic comedy worth seeing.

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9 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Hilarious. but you may hate it!

Author: Dick-42 ( from Springfield, VA
15 July 2000

Inane, but not as much so as you expect from Lewis. Jerry even plays a reasonably intelligent and talented character in this one. Absolutely hilarious in many spots, even when gags are being milked. You miss stuff you can't see through the tears! A wonderful movie -- perhaps Jerry's very best!

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

"My! Aren't you spreading yourself a bit thin?"

Author: moonspinner55 from las vegas, nv
5 September 2011

Jerry Lewis stars in and directed this inept farce about an American artist who wins a contest and hopes to spend the money traveling to Paris with his new bride, but she's a psychiatrist and can't leave behind her three most troubled patients ("I took an oath!"). The romantically-crestfallen ladies who are standing in the way are soon individually wooed by three bachelors, each of them the artist (now a con-artist) under an alias. This deception, of course, allows Jerry to half-heartedly dip into his standard bag of tricks and treat us to his funny voices and disguises (including one in drag). The camera-work is continually bad, with constant shots featuring the back of Lewis' head, and the script from Bob Ross and Samuel A. Taylor is flaccid and condescending (offensive to doctors, to commercial artists, but mostly to women). The 'mod' attributes in the costumes and art direction give the picture a jazzy look, but it's really just the same old stuff Jerry Lewis had been churning out for years by this point. *1/2 from ****

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Doesn't Feel Like a Farce...

Author: Bolesroor from New York, NY USA
17 March 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Sense-memory time: Close your eyes and inhale through your nose, remembering the scent of mothballs. Old clothes someone thought they wanted to keep for another day... a memory with which you have no attachment... a garment that hasn't aged well. Welcome to "Three On A Couch."

Jerry Lewis' psychiatrist girlfriend (Janet Leigh) won't accompany him on his sabbatical to Paris because she's so humorless and self important she refuses to abandon her practice until she "cures" her three female patients with man troubles. The nutty director (and star) decides if HE can cure these three girls behind Leigh's back by assuming multiple comic personalities then she'll surely join him for crepes in the City of Light... maybe Jerry feels that only the French will truly appreciate him ;)

It's a decent setup... but the problem is the movie doesn't feel like a farce. It's heavy, moldy, and slow where comedy is usually light, crisp, and fast-paced. Leigh is stuck with dreadful dialogue proclaiming her sacred obligation as a doctor, while her MD friend sympathizes, explaining "I am a doctor too." I don't know if I've ever heard a real doctor insist they were a real doctor. Lewis achieves moments of insanity masquerading as a Southern belle AND her nebbishy geek of a brother- the scene in which he changes out of a dress and into man's clothing while loudly projecting "both" sides of the conversation is classic. Sadly, this is the movie's only highlight.

An outlandish script like this should never be directed in this leaden, self-important style... its a shame but not a surprise because Lewis at this point had become a leaden, self-important man. His brilliance in early comedies like "The Errand Boy" and "The Bellboy" was eclipsed by his ego and desire to direct himself... it was more important to look cool than be funny. It's the death of the comedian, and unless you're into autopsies you won't want to linger here. Better to air out the attic, and forget the smell of mothballs.


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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Three needing a couch

Author: martimus98 from near a Cactus
16 March 2009

This movie is one that has both amused me and appalled me over the years. Jerry Lewis is an odd sort of comedic actor. When left to his own devices he can be downright annoying in his portrayals. Too bad this movie falls into that category. Jerry follows the stereotype he so loves as we see him often with cigarette in one hand and drink glass in the other. Lewis has potential to be great as a comedic actor but by acting as star (in multiple roles), director, and producer he's pretty much given himself carte blanche to do whatever he wants while in front of the camera.

The premise of the movie is fairly typical for Jerry Lewis movies of the 60's. It does provide us an opportunity to watch Janet Leigh and Mary Ann Mobley which is always a pleasure. All in all it's a pretty silly movie that simply doesn't hit the mark.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Starts slow but ends up hilarious

Author: vchimpanzee
10 August 2010

Artist Christopher Pride has won a contest to paint a mural in Paris. He shows up to collect his award from the diplomats in an office, with the nervous energy one would expect from Jerry Lewis. Just one problem: he's about to get married to Elizabeth, a psychiatrist in a Los Angeles office building which must be about the size of the Empire State Building, judging from the number of psychiatrists in the building directory. If they get married, Elizabeth will have to accompany Christopher to Paris.

Elizabeth can take time off from some of her patients, but three of them will be devastated if she has to leave them. Mary Lou has a Southern accent and likes insects. Anna sounds European and sells perfume in a department store, but she likes cowboys. Susan is an exercise nut (she can't just lie on the couch; she must always be working out). All three have problems with men and need to talk to Elizabeth constantly about them.

Christopher's best friend Ben, an obstetrician, comes up with an interesting idea. What if Christopher goes out with each girl, portraying their ideal man? It might work. I know it'll work for the audience.

Ringo Raintree shows up at Anna's workplace with a cigar in his mouth. The poor man struggles with that cigar but somehow always manages to keep it in his mouth while talking up a storm about being the greatest rancher west of Chicago. Let's just hope he never has to prove his ability in, say, a rodeo.

Warren tries to keep up with Susan on the jogging trail. I wasn't aware people jogged in 1965, but Susan is kind of unusual.

And one of the movie's funniest scenes, and certainly one of Lewis' most hilarious moments, comes when Heather persuades Mary Lou to visit her very shy zoologist brother Rutherford. Heather is actually Christopher in drag, but she uses the key to her brother's apartment, goes in and discovers him hiding out in the bedroom, terrified of meeting this woman. As they argue, Mary Lou listens from the living room, but Christopher is actually taking off his dress and female underwear (lots of it in those days--and grapefruits in his bra) to get dressed as Rutherford. Heather is quietly washing her hair when her extremely nerdy brother finally meets Mary Lou, and he's not nearly as shy as she expected. He's about as goofy as Julius Kelp, though.

So will the plan work? Well, there are many funny moments. One of the best that I haven't mentioned is Warren's attempt to hit a board in Susan's karate class. But there's much more that you can probably guess will happen.

There was one scene that didn't make a lot of sense to me. After all ... well, I won't give that away. Let's just say there's a lot of excitement at the end. Particularly funny are the elevators.

I was surprised at first, because this didn't seem to be the wacky, zany comedy typical of Jerry Lewis. I've only seen a handful of his films only because I waited for them to show up on broadcast TV, which this one did. But it took time to set up the situation, and I worried this would actually be a comedy-drama. No, once the scheme began, it was everything one would expect from Jerry Lewis. Maybe not his best work, but he certainly shows his talent here.

James Best even sounded a little like Sheriff Rosco at times. Those noises he made when Ben was nervous must have originated with Best and not Rosco.

Kathleen Freeman was very good as Elizabeth's secretary. The poor woman, but she handles herself very professionally.

The other actresses did a pretty good job too. And there's a drunk who is entertaining.

I enjoyed the music a lot. Jerry Lewis must enjoy big band jazz as much as I do. And there's quiet jazz in restaurants as well as straight elevator music. No, not in the elevator. The elevator scenes are too wacky for that.

A great job.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Enochlophobia on the Rocks

Author: wes-connors from Los Angeles
19 March 2008

Jerry Lewis (as Christopher Pride) wants to marry Janet Leigh (as Elizabeth "Liz" Acord) and move to Paris, where he has been commissioned to design a mural. But, Psychiatrist Leigh doesn't want to leave her patients; especially three strikingly beautiful women, who can't seem to develop romantic relationships with men. Mr. Lewis decides to assume three different alternate identities, in order to warm up the three frigid women, and free up fiancée Leigh. Will things get too hot?

Leigh and the three women (Mary Ann Mobley, Leslie Parrish, and Gila Golan) are lovely looking; but, don't watch for them to run around in bikinis and towels a lot -- there isn't much skin on display. James Best (as Ben Mizer) handles the role of Lewis' straight man well. The supporting cast performs ably; Kathleen Freeman and Buddy Lester are always fun to watch, drunk or sober. Lewis plays his "main" personality and four others -- "Warren", "Ringo" (not Beatle-influenced), "Rutherford", and "Heather". They are not complicated characterizations and, so, are not among is best.

"Three on a Couch" is interesting in its overindulgence. It's the Lewis brand, with a drink in one hand, and a cigarette in the other. Note, the script and situations are drenched in alcohol. This gives the film a "drunk", enochlophobic feel. The film's closing "party" has a surreal quality, with guests pouring into spaces they shouldn't fit. Lewis directs this "party" scene very effectively, by the way; his directorial skill is sometimes overshadowed by his on screen persona -- he might have been wise to peruse a parallel career directing movies in which he does not appear.

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6 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Did we all watch the same movie?!

Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
28 September 2008

When I looked over the IMDb entry for THREE ON A COUCH, I was completely surprised by the overall rating of 6.1 as well as how positive the reviews were--especially when I saw someone who gave it a 10. Giving this movie a 10 is simply impossible to believe. While I don't fault anyone for liking this movie (though I truly hated it), a 10 implies perfection. And, considering that this is a comedy without a single laugh, a 10 just seems ludicrous and is perhaps evidence that the Jerry Lewis cult is alive and well. Don't believe the scores--this is a truly bad film and my 2 is actually rather generous! I am not the only one who hated it, as the film had an entry in the book "The Fifty Worst Movies of All Time" by Harry Medved. While perhaps he was overstating it to say it was among the 50 worst, it is bad....very, very bad.

Now the first half hour of the film wasn't bad (which is how the movie manages to earn a 2)--though it looked nothing like a comedy. Jerry is an artist (though, oddly, we never see him paint or see any of his art even once during the film) and has received an award to paint an important mural in Paris. However, his fiancée (Janet Leigh) is nuts, as she won't go with him--saying that her job as a psychiatrist precludes having a life. She won't transfer three of her clients to another therapist and has an overly developed sense of responsibility towards them. So far, so good. It's an interesting idea for a drama, though there's nothing remotely comedic about this.

Now Jerry and his friend (James Best) come up with a plan to "cure" Leigh's three patients. The three all have been hurt by men, so Jerry decides to pretend to be the perfect man for each of them--and hopefully getting each to come out of their shell--therefore allowing Leigh to let go of them and move to Paris with Jerry. An interesting though silly idea, it is handled with absolutely no subtlety or style. Instead, Jerry acts like an obnoxious moron--and in two of the cases, is so over the top and so irritating that you would assume the women are compete imbeciles to like him. The worst was his cowboy role. Practically every elementary school actor could be more convincing! To show that he's a real cowboy, Jerry moves a cigar around like he has the lit end in his mouth and mugs so much that it's downright nauseating. Additionally, the nerd he plays comes off more like a combination of Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams (I am not exaggerating). I mean no offense against Capote or Williams, but they were flamboyantly gay as was Jerry's nerd. That any woman would be taken in my his incredibly effeminate style is astounding. I also wonder if some viewers might be offended by how campy this portrayal was.

The bottom line is that the film isn't funny, and considering it's supposed to be a comedy, that's an insurmountable obstacle. The fact is, Mr. Lewis can be funny but he can also be very, very unfunny. This film is easily the worst of his movies that I have seen (even worse than CRACKING UP--which gave me a migraine), though I have also heard that SLAPSTICK OF ANOTHER KIND is worse--I have yet to see it. Don't believe the cult-like devotion of some fans--this film is embarrassingly bad.

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6 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

The first time I saw Jerry Lewis on t.v.

Author: nilis-3 from Holland
22 June 2001

This is the first and only movie I've seen from Jerry Lewis. He is from before my time and I didn't have great expectations of his comedic abilities. But it was better than I expected. There were moments I really had to laugh and that doesn't happen all to often. Even if not all the scenes are even funny and sometimes irritating long (the farewell party at the office), I must say that Jerry Lewis can be a very funny man.

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7 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

it's my second favorite Jerry Lewis movie -- a masterpiece!

Author: taz-67 ( from north hollywood
18 October 2000

Jerry's portrayal of Rutherford and sister Heather is one of his best. I'm giggling now as I remember the scenes. The movie is truly a delight to watch; I discovered it during the late 70's. Despite bad press from some and in my opinion, Jerry Lewis is one of the kings of comedy. In fact, Jerry is my second favorite comedian next to Richard Pryor.

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