Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Man with Two Brains

The Man with Two Brains; Black comedy, USA, 1983; Carl Reiner, S: Steve Martin, Kathleen Turner, David Warner, Sissy Spacek (voice)

After brain surgeon Dr. Michael Hfuhruhrr accidentally hits Dolores with his car, he saves her life in the hospital and marries her. But the evil Dolores soon shows her real face, cheating on him while he is always alone. During their honeymoon in Vienna, Michael meets mad scientist Alfred who experiments with brains. In his laboratory, Michael discovers he can communicate with one female brain in a glass, Anne, and falls in love with her. When Dolores gets murdered, he transplants Anne's brain into her body and they end up together.

Genius and inspiration are not quite the first things that come to mind when one watches "The Man with Two Brains", an unusually black and weak achievement from the early career of Steve Martin, the 'comedian with grey hair and young face'. Actually, for a film that mentions two brains in its title, the story is surprisingly poor with intelligence: the jokes where a cat for some reason appears again and again in Michael's operating room during his operations or when he licks the palm on his hands to move and hang on the wall like Spider-man were lame, cheap and dumb back in 1983, and there is no reason for them to leave a different impression today. Surprisingly, the best jokes appear completely unexpected when the film is making fun of itself - for instance, Dr. Alfred's secret cave laboratory is an obvious paper set design, so the biggest laugh comes when his butler simply rips off the 'solid' looking paper door with ease. Still, despite its too flat approach, this third cooperation between director Carl Reiner and actor Martin is still an easily watchable fun, before they would make their hit comedy "All of Me".


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