THREE ON A COUCH (1966) 

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Jerry Lewis
Janet Leigh
James Best
Leslie Parrish
Mary Ann Mobley
Gila Golan
Kathleen Freeman
Buddy Lester

Jerry Lewis


Time: 109 mins.
Rating: Not Rated
Genre: Comedy/Romance

SYNOPSIS: An artist has an opportunity to go to Paris and wants to bring his fiancée along. However, she's a psychiatrist who currently has three female patients who don't like men and she won't leave until she's helped them regain their trust in the opposite sex. So, he guises himself as three different men to show them that all men aren't bad, thus curing them and allowing his fiancée to go with him. Craziness clearly ensues.

BOTTOM LINE: Lewis puts his talent for portraying wacky characters to good use in this romantic comedy that's light on plot, but filled with heart. I'm not always a fan of his energetic style of acting, but it works here since he's basically juggling the hearts and minds of four very different women. Leigh is his main love interest, playing the psychiatrist who refuses to leave her patients until they each find a man as wonderful as hers. Little does she know, that her man's impatience to get her to Paris causes him to take their matters of the heart into his own hands. He uses his inside knowledge of the three ladies to become the perfect man for each of them – a rich cowboy, shy nerd and competitive athlete. He even becomes the sister of one of the men for good measure. He's aided in these escapades by their best friend (played by Best), but it's not easy to keep four women happy at the same time. He's exhausted, yet thrilled when his efforts start to yield results, but of course, fails to realize that he's going to be in a whole heap of trouble when they all discover the truth, which they obviously do.

While the film has both its' romantic and funny moments, it's was just too contrived and over-the-top for my tastes, as well as a bit dated in its notions about men and women. I have to give Lewis props for creating four very distinct characters, yet his constant aping for the camera got on my nerves. He was sweet and quite believable as a leading man and I wanted more of that, but I guess that's not what most of his fans want from him. Leigh's not a natural comedienne, but she holds her own here and even manages to generate some genuiune chemistry with Lewis. Best has the thankless role of second fiddle, but he keeps up with Lewis, which isn't a small task. The three ladies are pretty and sweet, but none of them do anything you'll remember in the morning. The final sequence, that has Lewis and Best trying to keep all the ladies apart at a big party, is a miracle of choreography and funny to boot. This isn't a bad film, it's just one that's constanting trying too hard to be hilarious. Fans of Lewis will be amused. I'm still waiting to be impressed.

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