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Funny Bones
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Funny Bones More at IMDbPro »

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26 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

Underrated

9/10
Author: shark-43 from L.A. CA
19 September 2002

This film is a very underrated gem - it cant be put into a nice little box like Hollywood always wants to do with projects. "This is a wacky comedy" "This is a dark family drama", etc. You could tell they did not know how to market the film when it first came out in the US. They made it look like a wacky farce which it is not. This film works as a dark comedy about talent, those that have it and those that dont and yes, Jerry lewis gives a strong performance (right up there with King Of Comedy)and Lee Evans is a marvel as a talented comedian and Oliver Platt gives one ofhis best performances as an untalented offspring of a legend. Worth seeing - just dont expect slapstick, expect three-dimensional flawed people trying to make peace with one another and get through their torn lives.

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21 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

A seaside postcard from the depths of the human heart

9/10
Author: sarahcyn from London, England
30 March 2004

Not really a comedy - more a surreal, sometimes weirdly comic piece about comedians, about families, about the awfulness of having a famous father, about genius, about the problem of what makes a comic funny, about the sublime sadness of failure. Lee Evans is absolutely haunting as the tortured comic genius, the natural comic who is so purely a comedian that he can barely communicate except in gags, yet who will never be allowed to perform in public because of his dark past. Leslie Caron is heart-rending as his mother, a brave, faded French beauty stranded for ever singing mildly risque songs in Blackpool pubs, and their tender scenes together are for me the best thing in the whole film.

The whole cast is incredible...right down to Oliver Reed camping it up gloriously in a bizarre sub-plot which at first I thought might be part of the Evans' character's fevered imagination. It is a movie absolutely crammed with magic but in one of my favourite scenes, Oliver Platt arrives in Blackpool and instantly sees it peopled with characters from Donald McGill postcards - fat ladies, saucy girls with flouncy skirts, burly men. The ending is a bit wonky and looks to my eye to have been changed from a tragic one to a "happy" one to please audiences. In the two opening sequences, both Evans and Platt utter the words "I'm going to die" in very different circumstances, and mean very different things, and other variations on the theme of death and laughter follow - all this seemed to be pointing down a much darker alleyway than the one we got. Doesn't matter, though. Still a great movie.

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21 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

Fascinating Quirky Film

9/10
Author: ccthemovieman-1 from United States
15 February 2006

Here is one more somewhat-unknown film I wish got more notice, although I'm not sure how many would like it because it's so different. It's a bizarre combination of humor and tragedy, of supernatural and straight drama. It's just an odd mix, but I find it very, very interesting and I've seen it three times, equally fascinated each time.

The movie goes back and forth between drama and comedy which makes unsettling for some viewers, but not me. It kept me on my toes, so to speak, even with those multiple viewings. Also in here is another example of how good comedians can be in dramatic roles, in this case, veteran comic Jerry Lewis. Oliver Platt plays his son, and does an outstanding job as the main figure in this film. The comedy is really provided by others, most notably the most tragic figure in the film: "Jack Parker," effectively played by Lee Evans.

There is really is no way to adequately explain this strange film in a few paragraphs. I would just say if you are looking for something different, give this a try. And stay with it, even if the first half hour is not to your liking. You will be rewarded.

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15 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Beautiful movie, a jewel I almost missed

10/10
Author: madfoot-2 from New York, NY
21 February 2005

How did I never hear of Lee Evans before I saw this movie? He is my new idol. When this movie came out, I gave it a miss because of Jerry Lewis (King of Comedy notwithstanding -- he gives me the creeps, man), but I caught it on Sundance the other night and was bowled over. It starts out sorta weird, but then hooks you with the story of this guy trying to be a standup comic in the shadow of his showbiz-legend dad (is there any worse word than "showbiz"? Maybe "node," but other than that, "showbiz" is just such a bad word!!!), and then all of a sudden you are in Blackpool, England, being treated to (a) some amazing vaudeville performers from an era sadly gone by, and (b) some amazing performances by clowny guys (not the creepy kind), and (c) Leslie Caron singing a torch song in a man-tailored shirt, and (d) a beautiful story of lost dreams, redemption, and wax eggs. Rent it, fool. Rent it now if you have a funny bone in your body.

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17 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

On my all time top ten list

10/10
Author: kalala from Washington DC
27 May 2004

This amazing film won't let you go. I was never a Jerry Lewis fan, but his performance here is extraordinary. The movie is a Pirandellean exploration of the nature of comedy. It works on so many levels--acting, script, cinematography, plot, and of course comedy. The dark secret of humor is that a grin is really a grimace. Oliver Platt is amazing--I hadn't seen him before and will now go to anything he plays in on the basis of the performance. He plays a failed comic son of a famous comic father (Jerry Lewis) exploring the roots of comedy--his own personal family roots, the roots in his home town's vaudeville, and ultimately its roots in the human psyche. I can't tell much more without giving away some of the twists of the roller-coaster of a plot. If you like to think while being entertained, here's a movie for you.

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15 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

some unanswered questions

Author: didi-5 from United Kingdom
21 May 2004

I do have to say from the outset that I really like this film, disjointed though it is, perhaps because it is so different. This is a story of a broken family and hidden secrets - Tommy Fawkes goes to Blackpool, once one of the world's showbiz capitals, to learn how to be funny; once there he finds a duo (played by veteran British comics Freddie Davies and George Carl) who he thinks have stolen his famous dad's act - but are things really as they seem? Jack Parker is a Blackpool born lad with the innate ability to be creatively humorous (Lee Evans is excellent in this role) while lacking in the social skills to survive in the real world.

Against this backdrop is something about mysterious eggs which hold some mystical secret or other (giving Oliver Reed yet another strange role as the oddball Dolly). The really interesting aspects of the story are the skeletons in the closet that bring Jack's mother (Leslie Caron) and Tommy's father (Jerry Lewis) together again. The strongest scenes though are the ones which truly shock - the flashback outlining the tragedy that has affected Jack's life, and the final few sequences in the show arena.

'Funny Bones' may be hard to fathom but I think it repays attention by giving its audience something a bit unexpected - plus some great performances along the way.

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15 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

A comedy that is very well thought out and very intelligent. This is often difficult to watch, but it works because it has heart.

8/10
Author: Michael DeZubiria (wppispam2013@gmail.com) from Luoyang, China
30 August 2000

Funny Bones is not a traditional comedy. It starts off being deliberately unamusing, yet it later becomes evident that this was done not only to establish reason for the events that occur during the rest of the movie, but also to create good character development. Oliver Platt proves that he is not only a great comedic actor, but he can be just as good when he is trying NOT to be funny. His on-stage scenes early in the film were not only well-lit but also wonderfully acted and photographed. Jerry Lewis also performs a surprisingly convincing role in a startling turn from sheer comedic hilarity to a seriously dramatic role as Platt's legendary comedian father.

Platt plays Tommy Fawkes, a struggling stand-up comedian trying to live up to the legacy that his famous father George Fawkes (Jerry Lewis) has created. George is now retired, and Tommy is struggling to get his career started. After yet another painful failure onstage, Tommy decides to travel back to Blackpool, England, where his family's comedy originated. The people that Tommy meets there are strangely fascinating, and Lee Evans delivers a particularly interesting performance as Jack Parker, the high energy comedian who is on the run from the law and is also George Fawkes' bastard son. His one full length comedy act is absolutely amazing to watch.

As Tommy is holding auditions trying to find something funny to include in his own act back in the States, he learns more and more about the people living in Blackpool and about their history as well as some dishonorable actions of his own father, and he learns an important lesson from it all. He ultimately finds his place in the world of live acting, and the transformation from who he was at the beginning of the film to who he is at the end is incredible.

Funny Bones is an excellent but very different comedy that is ultimately very rewarding and satisfying. The cinematic trickery and the skillful use of lighting add to the experience, and the acting is excellent all around. The circus scene at the end of the film was great, it was tense and amazingly well done. Although slow at times, this is a great film about overcoming obstacles and developing your own view of the world, as well as the importance of finding your rightful place in it.

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11 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

A very multi-faceted film

Author: Valek-5 (vampyr54@yahoo.com) from Cape Town, South Africa
13 October 1999

When I first saw this film I thought that it was brilliant. At first it seemed to have an amateurish quality about it, but this turned out not to be true. What I thought was amateurish about it turned out to be the sound. The ever present ocean seems to add to the sound quality as if the viewer were really there, experiencing what actually happened.

This is undoubtedly one of Oliver Platt's best roles. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the intriguing Mr.Fawkes. Lee Evans was also unbelievably riveting in his portrayal as the mentally disturbed young man.

This film is very representative of the small town in Britain with it's quiet undisturbed population that seems to be frozen in time, in contrast to Fawkes's father's life in America, which is busy and ever-changing, where the most important thing in life is money, as opposed to memories being just as important back in the small British town.

The best part of the film is watching (in small parts) the unravelling of the horrific event that had happened so many years before and turned the young man (played by Lee Evans) into the person he is today.

A riveting watch. See it.

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11 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Artfully filmed, beautifully acted dark comedy...

Author: Heather Magee from Virginia
13 August 1999

Although mostly overlooked at the time of release, this is undoubtedly one of the best films of the 90's. Elegantly surreal, Funny Bones is filled with wonderful visuals and a timeless quality.

At the center of this story stands Tommy Fawkes, a reluctant young comedian struggling in his famous father's (Jerry Lewis) shadow. Fawkes is masterfully portrayed by Oliver Platt, an incredibly talented actor who is often placed in supporting roles. Adept at all roles, it's always refreshing to find him as our lead. Platt has a particular gift for portraying the edgy hero, reminiscent of Karl Malden at his best. Somehow, he manages to make Tommy dark, yet uncomplicated.

In contrast, we have Jack Parker--seemingly the simplest of characters, he is the darkest and most complicated of all. This offered many of us our first glimpse of Lee Evans, a brilliant young UK actor/comedian with an astonishing penchant for physical comedy. His energy alone is enough to leave the viewer completely awestruck. If Fate is kind, we should have the good fortune of seeing a great deal more of him.

As for the rest of this stellar cast, Leslie Caron is charming as ever, George Carl and Freddie Davies are pure energy, and Jerry Lewis is, well, Jerry Lewis (there is no higher compliment I can pay him).

Essentially, this film is a requisite for anyone who enjoys surreal, dark comedy with a philosophical edge and an often slapstick pace.

"The dark moon, she pulls the tides also." --Thomas Parker (Freddie Davies)

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8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Very original - in all respects.

9/10
Author: MossMan from Toulouse, France
12 October 1998

I had seen the standard shots of this film when it came out and thought that the comedy seemed pretty bad - which put me off seeing it in the cinema.

However, now that it's been on TV I would like to recommend it to anyone who wants to see a film which has an original story, interesting characters, unusual settings, great acting, great photography.... generally the opposite of the usual Hollywood fare I usually have to suffer because of my friends.

So, to sum up, it's been marketed wrongly - this is not a film which you should see for a laugh; it's a film which constantly surprises - not least in dramatic turns in the story.

Loved it - 9/10

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