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   THE MAN WITH TWO BRAINS (1983) 

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CAST
Steve Martin
Kathleen Turner
David Warner
Paul Benedict
Richard Brestoff
James Cromwell
Peter Hobbs
George Furth
Earl Boen

DIRECTED BY
Carl Reiner

PURCHASE


DVD




Time: 93 mins.
Rating: R
Genre: Comedy/Romance


Long before Steve Martin was making silly, outrageous family comedies like PARENTHOOD and FATHER OF THE BRIDE, he was king of the silly, outrageous wacky comedy. He started his career as the "wild and crazy guy" and his early work in films like THE JERK, ALL OF ME and THE MAN WITH TWO BRAINS focused on this aspect of his humor. If you're a fan of Martin's and have never seen any of these pictures, you're really missing something. Though I enjoy the manic and sweet presence he's cultivated in the last decade, there's just something about his early films that have captured my heart. Since he wasn't a superstar, he allowed himself the luxury of being as weird and crazy as he wanted to be, exploring avenues of comedy most people would have shied away from. THE MAN WITH TWO BRAINS has a ridiculous and unbelievable plot, but it's so funny, unusual and romantic, you don't want the ride to end. Kathleen Turner co-stars in the film, using her BODY HEAT mystique in a very funny manner.

In this film, Martin plays a world-renowned brain surgeon who's created a new surgical procedure that allows easy access to the brain by screwing off the top of the skull. This patented technique cuts down the time of surgery and is much less invasive for the patient. Plus, you don't have to be seen with your head unsightly shaved. He performs the surgery on a very beautiful patient played by Kathleen Turner, who weaves her sexual magic over Dr. Hfuhruhurr. Unable to resist her charms, he quickly proposes and they are soon wed. Of course, once married, Dolores defers the marriage bed claiming headaches, though teases Micheal incessantly by wearing skimpy clothing and sucking on his fingers. He doesn't force the issue, because she just had brain surgery after all. What he doesn't know is that she's relieving her sexual urges with every other man she meets. The lack of sex and constant reminder of what he can't have, starts to have a toll on his work. In order to relieve the pressure and create an air of romance, his boss suggests they take a trip to Austria for a medical conference as a sort of honeymoon. Sex with his unbearably attractive wife soon takes a backseat to a remarkable discovery.


"I don't think there's a girl floating in a jar anywhere who's as happy as I am."

While visiting the lab of Austrian brain scientist Dr. Necessiter, Michael finds out that he can hear the thoughts of one of the brains being kept alive in the lab. He and "Anne" soon form an amazing bond. Anne is everything he wishes Dolores could be, except for the fact that she's just a brain. If she had a body, she'd be the perfect woman. Dolores on the other hand does eventually give him the sexual experience of a lifetime, but only because he comes into a large sum of money. However, it's too late for Dolores. It's Anne who's captured his heart. It turns out that Anne doesn't really have much time left. Dr. Necessiter has developed a process that he believes can transfer her essence to another body, they just need the proper receptacle. Michael goes in search for the right woman to embody his soul mate, but it's not an easy bill to fill. In the end, he puts his life on the line to save Anne. His sacrifice enables all of his dreams of love to be fulfilled, even though they don't come in the perfect package.

There aren't many films sillier than THE MAN WITH TWO BRAINS with the possible exception of Martin's earlier classic THE JERK, which was also directed by Carl Reiner. You really have to take a huge leap of faith and leave your pretensions at the door from first frame. I don't think I've ever seen a more unconventional romantic comedy. Though there is some nudity, this has to be one of the tamest Rated R movies you'll ever see. It would certainly receive a PG-13 if it were to be released today. The film is slightly uneven in its pace, going from sappy love scenes to destructive physical pratfalls, but Martin holds everything together beautifully. Only he could make such an outrageous story seem completely believable. Kathleen Turner is wonderfully wicked as his slutty, mean-spirited wife Dolores. This was her follow up film to her breakout role in BODY HEAT and it's great to see an actress take such a huge leap into something completely different. Granted it's her job in this film to be a sexy bitch, but she's funnier than expected. The perfect straight man.

THE MAN WITH TWO BRAINS is far from a perfect film, but I can't help myself from liking it. It has heart and that makes up for a lot. It also has a few surprises up its sleeve that keeps the film interesting and funny. If you're a Steve Martin fan, this is a film you should check out. He never gets to explore this side of his personality anymore and that's a real loss. He's one of the few comics who could actually pull off a film like this. Even if you're not big on Steve, this movie will still give you the giggles. If anything, the identity of the Elevator Killer – one of the films' subplots – will make you roar with disbelief.



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