Artists and Models (1955)
Director: Frank Tashlin
Jerry Lewis is certainly an acquired taste: one I do not have. His antics - face-pulling, man-child dopey-ness - do nothing for me, and the only moments I found his behaviour funny was his attempts to run away from Shirley MacLaine's Bessie Sparrowbush, who has the hots for his Eugene Fullstack; and an amusing sequence involving massage. In fact, MacLaine is the standout in the whole film, giving her all to the physical comedy and the dancing, playing Bessie with a likeable amount of goofiness.
Other than MacLaine, the other enjoyable part of the film are the costumes, from the stylish blue leotard number for the 'Bat Lady', Eva Gabor's fur-trimmed purple leotard, to the dresses in the title song. Since they were designed by Edith Head, it is no wonder they are memorable. The film's plot is simply there to hang jokes off, and goes off into a completely different story in the Third Act (something to do with spies, and a secret formula: it is not really important!).
Now I know what Lewis' schtick was, I am apprehensive about seeing more of his films. Watching comedies that don't tickle your funny bone are worse than seeing drama that doesn't quite hit the mark; you feel that you are missing something that others get, that somehow it is your problem. The funny thing is, I watched King of Comedy not long after seeing Artists and Models, and was amazed at how great Lewis is in that film, playing the jaded late night comedian that De Niro's character obsesses over.