LIVING IT UP (1954) 

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Jerry Lewis
Janet Leigh
Dean Martin
Edward Arnold
Sig Ruman
Sheree North
Richard Loo
Raymond Greenleaf
Walter Baldwin

Norman Taurog



Time: 95 mins.
Rating: Not Rated
Genre: Comedy

SYNOPSIS: Manhattan newspaperwoman Wally Cooper, hoping to improve circulation of her paper, convinces her boss to fete Homer, a young man supposedly dying of radiation poisoning, as a hero with an all-expenses-paid trip to the Big Apple. Unbeknowst to them, Homer learns from his local doctor Steve that he isn't dying at all, but they decide to take advantage of the celebrity treatment bestowed on him by Wally. A good time is had by all – until medical specialist Dr. Egelhofer insists upon examining Homer.

BOTTOM LINE: Based upon the film NOTHING SACRED, this sort-of musical comedy switches the gender of the afflicted lead – from female to male – and adds a great deal more wackiness to the proceedings, mostly due to the antic energy of Lewis. His manic romping adds vivacity to the lackluster story, making the film more entertaining than it should be. That Martin is able to keep up with him at all is a miracle. As the man always forced to reign Lewis in, his smooth voice and calm spirit gives the audience a chance to catch their breath and the film a few minutes of normalcy. The fact that they have better chemistry with each other than either does with Janet Leigh is due mostly to miscasting. She's just too poised and sweet to be believable as a cut throat journalist, and too classy and smart to fall in love with either of these scheming yokels. She makes a valiant effort to share in the physical fun, but broad comedy is not her forté. In order to make effective use of Martin's main talent, his voice, the film incorporates some of the songs from the stage version of the story. While certainly enjoyable, since the film isn't exactly a musical, the numbers seem out of place, sort of crammed into the piece to fill time. This is my first Martin/Lewis experience and though uneven, it was fun enough to make me want to watch them together again.

"Every doctor makes mistakes. That's why we have hospitals."

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