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Carl Reiner
Steve Martin, Bernadette Peters, Catlin Adams
Writing Credits:
Steve Martin, Carl Gottlieb, Michael Elias

A simple minded, sheltered country boy suddenly decides to leave his family home to experience life in the big city, where his naivety is both his best friend, and worst enemy.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$5,935,025 on 525 screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
French DTS 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 94 min.
Price: $9.98
Release Date: 7/9/2013

• “The Lost Filmstrips of Father Carlos Las Vegas De Cordova”
• “Learn to Play ‘Tonight You Belong to Me’”
• Trailer


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


The Jerk [Blu-Ray] (1979)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 7, 2020)

Funny how time can change perceptions. As a 12-year-old who loved Steve Martin, I was really excited when The Jerk came out theatrically in 1979, though I didn't see it then.

Although my Dad took me to "R"-rated films back then, he didn't want to see Jerk, so that was that. I ended up not feeling too disappointed because the film received so many lackluster reviews.

Fast forward 40 years and it seems that the "common knowledge" of The Jerk states that it's a comedy classic that was beloved. Hmm ... maybe I lived in some sort of alternate universe 1979, but I don't remember that happening.

White boy Navin Johnson (Martin) lives with a black family, and they never tell him they adopted him. Eventually, Navin decides he needs to leave the nest and experience the big, broad world for himself.

This takes Navin to a variety of places and he meets a mix of people. Comedic adventures occur along the way.

Frequently when I expect to dislike a movie, I end up thinking it's at least okay. That happened with a decent movie in Prince of Tides and a shockingly terrific film in Good Will Hunting. Even some oft-slammed clunkers like Sphere don't seem to equal their overwhelmingly negative hype.

Years ago, I went into my first screening of The Jerk with low expectations, and it lived down to them. Over subsequent decades, I’ve tried to give it additional chances, and at this point, I’d guess I’ve seen it at least four or five times.

I like many of the folks involved with the project and feel like I should enjoy the flick, so I persevere with new viewings every few years.

Despite all this, I have to say that I still find The Jerk to be a pretty lousy film. Maybe it's just me, but I simply didn't find much about it that actually qualified as either amusing or entertaining. It's just a big snoozer.

That's really the film's greatest fault: it's awfully boring. The movie only clocks in at 94 minutes but it feels much longer. There's very little plot involved and the vaguely connected series of gags just seems to drone on and on.

This wouldn't be so bad if the gags were better. After all, classics like Pee-wee’s Big Adventure and This Is Spinal Tap only offer the slightest of plots.

However, the situations involved are so funny that both movies work well. The Jerk, however, has little creativity or spark to it.

I won't say that I didn't laugh, because occasionally something struck me as funny, but those peaks were few and far between. For the most part, I simply sat back and prayed for it to end.

Steve Martin's a tremendously talented actor and comic, but I think he simply tried too hard here. He clearly had a lot of pressure on him for his first big-screen starring role, and it's hard to live up to all the hype. He fulfilled all of his enormous promise in later endeavors, but The Jerk stands as a bomb.

The Disc Grades: Picture B-/ Audio B-/ Bonus D

The Jerk appears in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This release offers a consistently decent but unspectacular transfer.

Sharpness looked fairly good. Not much real softness materialized, but the source showed its age and could feel a bit loose and ill-defined at times.

I noticed no jagged edges or shimmering appeared, but a smidgen of edge enhancement popped up at times. The picture felt awfully grainy at times, but only a handful of specks ever marred the presentation.

Colors seemed adequate. While the hues never looked wan or bland, they also failed to deliver much real punch. Still, they came across with reasonable clarity.

Blacks felt fairly dark, while shadows appeared acceptable, albeit a little thick at times. This was an adequate image given the movie’s roots and age.

Although I expected little from the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of The Jerk, the remix worked pretty well, and it opened up the soundscape better than I anticipated. Not that this meant much from the surrounds, as they may have added general information, but they never went beyond that.

However, the forward channels seemed more engaging than one might predict. In that regard, music was something of a disappoint, however.

Most of the score stayed in the range of broad mono. The music spread to the sides in the general way but didn’t offer concise stereo delineation.

Effects fared better. They presented some good localization of minor elements and also meshed together smoothly.

A few instances of panning worked out nicely, as the pieces moved cleanly across the channels. This wasn’t a spectacular soundfield, but it seemed believable and added some zing to the proceedings.

Audio quality also worked fine. Movies from the late Seventies don’t normally offer stellar sound quality, and Jerk sounded better than I thought it would.

Speech usually satisfied. A few lines came across as a bit reedy, but most of the dialogue was reasonably natural, and I encountered no issues with intelligibility or edginess.

Music also seemed pretty robust. Though the score occasionally showed its age, the material mainly offered clear, lively tones.

Effects were relatively strong. The smattering of loud scenes – like the towing of the church – added decent dimensionality to the proceedings, as they kicked in with some solid bass.

Not all the elements sounded that good, but they were consistently clean and distinctive. Overall, this was a surprisingly strong soundtrack.

How do the Blu-ray compare to the prior DVD? The lossless audio showed a bit more range, though the nature of the source restricted growth.

In addition, the Blu-ray looked a little tighter and more vivid, but the movie’s age and low budget meant it didn’t dazzle. The Blu-ray didn’t blow away the DVD, but it offered minor improvements.

In terms of extras, the biggest attraction comes from The Lost Filmstrips of Father Carlos Las Vegas De Cordova. This looks like it’ll be deleted footage from the “cat juggling” sequence, but from what I can tell, it’s not. The clip shows four minutes, 20 seconds of additional pet-related mistreatment: fish teasing, plant abusing, and pet dressing.

I don’t know if this stuff was created specifically for the prior DVD, but it sure doesn’t appear to be related to the original production. The audience for the performance is totally different, and everyone – especially the sexy “card girl” – look a lot more 2005 than 1979.

Whatever the case may be, it’s not funny at all. This is a very lame piece.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we find a thoroughly pointless extra: Learn to Play “Tonight You Belong to Me” on Ukulele. This goes for seven minutes, four seconds.

I don’t know about you, but even if I owned a ukulele, I wouldn’t waste my time learning to play this annoying song. Why bother with extras at all if they’ll be this dopey?

Despite repeated attempts to develop an appreciation for The Jerk, it just hasn’t happened – and probably never will. The movie has an occasional moment of mirth but usually seems slow, witless and boring. The Blu-ray offers reasonably good picture and sound, though its extras are mostly a waste of time. Many people love this film, but it doesn’t connect to me.

To rate this film visit the original review of THE JERK

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