Even at the start of his singing career, Dean Martin is an impressive gentleman, big, tall, handsome, exquisitely dressed, fitting his nightingale voice and naturally classy appeal, even though his womanizing costs him enough in alimony to declare bankruptcy. Jerry Lewis on the other hand is an unsightly schmuck, whose buffoon version of stand-up comedy is an agent's nightmare. When he accepts playing MC in a show with Dean, he tries interacting with him, and they hit gold judging by the audience's reactions. Initially Dean wants to walk off and stay a solo act, but success as a duo is irresistible, and they rocket together, even in Hollywood. However in time they fall out of friendship as their characters and lifestyle clash, and Dean still dreams of solo success.Written by
An entertaining and seemingly factual TV movie that leaves you wanting more...
MARTIN & LEWIS was the 2002 TV movie that traced the rise and eventual destruction of one of the greatest show business teams in Hollywood history. Even though I have always felt Martin and Lewis are worthy subjects of a theatrical biopic, I will take this over nothing. This movie starts in the 1940's and showcases the beginning of both of these show business legends and implies that both were struggling and about to go under when, according to this film, both were booked at the same club and Lewis inserted himself into Martin's act and the audience thought they were so funny together that they became an act that sold out nightclubs and eventually segued into a lucrative movie career. I don't know for sure how close it is to the truth, but this film depicts Jerry Lewis as an insecure, career-driven ego maniac who sincerely thought he was the brains of the act and that they would be nowhere without him and Martin is the guy who just sort of allowed Lewis to push and prod him through their success until Lewis' ego got to be too much for Dean to take. Whether or not this is what really happened, I guess only Dean and Jerry can say for sure, but it made for an immensely entertaining TV movie that had me riveted from start to finish. Sean Hayes received an Emmy nomination for his nearly flawless recreation of Jerry Lewis, from an insecure unknown comic begging for his dad's approval to the egomaniac whose insecurities, paranoia, and control issues drove Martin and everyone else to the edge. Jeremy Northam's powerhouse turn as Dean Martin matches Hayes note for note. Martin's singing voice is dubbed in for the musical sequences, but the rest is Northam, who brings Martin's easy and laid back persona beautifully to life here. He may not really resemble Martin physically, but Martin's personality, spirit and even his speaking voice were on the money for me here and the interaction between Northam and Hayes is kinetic here...a joy to watch. Mention should also be made of Paula Cale as Dean's first wife, Bettya and to Kate Levering as Dean's second wife, Jeanne. This TV movie was a triumph and one of the few times I wished a film could have been longer. This one definitely left me wanting more. I'm still hoping it will inspire a theatrical look at this legendary team.
6 of 9 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this