Charley Chase's third one-reel comedy as "Jimmy Jump" is a pure joy from start to finish. Even at this very early stage of his career, he has perfected the method of creating hilarious by uncomfortable humor that grows from slowly escalating frustration. From a slightly outlandish premise we jump into a series of well tuned frustrations : Jimmy Jump is about to get married on a short break from work, and his boss orders him to quickly show the mayor a car first -- with increasingly time-consuming and disastrous consequences.
This comedy is perfectly structured within its ten minutes. The great gags at the start where Charley / Jimmy fixes the small boy's slingshot -- only for it to be used on him -- and where the fiancée's melancholic former suitor who keeps hanging around, are funny once when they first appear, then doubly funny when they make their encores as part of Charley's continuing troubles in a way I won't exactly spoil.
The continuing wasting of Charley's time, combined with Charley's apologetic title card "Just a minute, dear!" are running gags that work every time because the situation has escalated, and they only make the payoff work better.
"Just a Minute" is about as tightly-made comedy of frustration as can be put together in a single reel. Charley Chase and his brother, director James Parrott, time it almost musically to generate the most laughs -- everything in there makes sense. Of course, we get frustrated along with Charley, maybe even more than he does. So if you don't care for that kind of comedy.
Sadly, the owner of what appears to be the only remaining film copy stipulated that it not be sold for profit, so most viewers have to settle for the copy on the "Becoming Charley Chase" DVD set which is mastered from a lower-quality videotape. It remains very watchable, however, and comes very recommended.
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