4.7/10
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21 user 5 critic

Hardly Working (1980)

PG | | Comedy | 3 April 1981 (USA)
In Jerry Lewis's first film in a decade, he plays Bo Hooper, an unemployed circus clown who can't seem to hold down a job. The film opens with a brief montage of clips from past Lewis ... See full summary »

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Bo Hooper
...
Claire Trent
...
Robert Trent
Deanna Lund ...
Millie
...
Frank Loucazi
...
...
Claude Reed
...
Ted Mitchell
Jerry Lester ...
...
Sammy
Alex Henteloff ...
J. Eating
Britt Leach ...
Gas Station Manager
Peggy Mondo ...
Woman in Restaurant
Amy Krug ...
Michele Trent
Stephen Baccus ...
Peter
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Storyline

In Jerry Lewis's first film in a decade, he plays Bo Hooper, an unemployed circus clown who can't seem to hold down a job. The film opens with a brief montage of clips from past Lewis movies. He then moves into a succession of jobs that he gets himself fired from including a gas station attendant and a mailman - all with disastrous results. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The world's funniest funny man is back!

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

3 April 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Alles in Handarbeit  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Technical Specs

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie was picked up for distribution in the United States by 20th Century-Fox after it had made $25 million at the box-office in South America and Europe. The picture had been independently financed outside of the studio system when developed and made. See more »

Goofs

At one point, Lewis tries to open the hood of a car. The hood quickly pops up and knocks Lewis on his feet. In the next shot, the hood is back down without having been touched. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Big Picture (1989) See more »

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User Reviews

Hardly Funny Would Have Been a Better Title
20 March 2016 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Hardly Working (1980)

1/2 (out of 4)

Bo Hooper (Jerry Lewis) is a life long clown who finds himself out of work after the circus goes out of business. He ends up moving in with his sister and brother-in-law until he can find a job. He's able to get one job after another but he is quickly fired because he just isn't too bright. He eventually lands a job at the post office but his boss (Roger C. Carmel) hates him and that hatred grows even stronger when the boss finds out that Bo is dating his daughter (Susan Oliver).

HARDLY WORKING turned out to be the first Jerry Lewis film in a decade because THE DAY THE CLOWN CRIED ended up never getting released. This "comeback" film had all sorts of problems including the production being shut down for several months because not enough money could be raised. The result on film is pretty bad on a number of levels but one of the biggest is the fact that the comedy just doesn't have many laughs that actually work. The production issues also how because the first half dealing with the brother-in-law is completely missing in the second half.

The first portion of the movie is basically just one poor skit after another. We see Lewis attempting to do various jobs with all of them ending in disaster. This includes one sequence involving him working at a gas station where he ends up destroying a car. The second portion of the movie gets away from the skit platform and deals with the romance with the girl. The problem is that these two different types of movies don't mix well together but the bigger issue is the fact that there aren't many laughs. The comedy is very forced but the direction by Lewis is less than impressive.

Roger Ebert really trashed this movie and called it one of the worst American films he ever saw. I wouldn't go that far but there's no question that Lewis was trying to recapture a former magic and it just doesn't work. The start of HARDLY WORKING has clips from previous Lewis movies as if he was trying to show people how funny he was at one time. Sadly there are very few laughs here and in the end it's quite forgettable and rather sad.


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