[[quoteright:196:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/The_Jerk_9009.jpg]]
->''"Lord loves a working man, don't trust whitey..."''
-->-- '''Navin R. Johnson'''

''The Jerk'' is an American comedy film from 1979. It was SteveMartin's first starring role in a feature film, and was directed by Carl Reiner.

The film follows Navin R. Johnson, a bum, who tells his life story. After finding out that he is not a natural born child of his black parents, Navin decides to leave home and make it for himself in the world. Despite the fact that he is woefully unprepared, Navin manages to land himself a job, escape a decidedly random psychopath, run away with a traveling carnival, find the woman of his dreams, and hit it rich, before finally losing everything and ending up a bum in the street.

Along the way, the film details Navin's interactions with the people and world around him, where his common misunderstandings of every-day situations often [[HilarityEnsues lead to hilarious results]].
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!!'''Tropes associated with this work:'''

* BallsOfSteel: SteveMartin's character makes the mistake of kicking the crotch of [[MeaningfulName "Iron Balls" McGinty.]]
* BerserkButton: Navin was raised by a black family and, for much of his life, thought he was black. [[NWordPrivileges He takes the N-word very personally]].
* BettyAndVeronica
* BookEnds: The film starts and ends with Navin singing and dancing with his family at home.
* ChekhovsGun: After Navin gets his first job, he promises to send some of everything he makes back to his family. [[spoiler:Later, once he's homeless, it turns out that he continued sending his family checks after he got rich. They began investing the money and are fairly well off by the end of the movie.]]
* ClingyJealousGirl: Patty the motorcycle daredevil.
* ComicallyMissingThePoint: "He hates these cans!"
* ConspicuousConsumption: The first thing Navin does after finding out how much he really cashed his check for.
** '''Partially''' averted. It doesn't occur to Navin and Marie to move out of their tiny apartment until their live-in butler and maid suggest it.
* ContrivedCoincidence: Played for laughs by the ending;
-->'''Navin:''' How did you find me?\\
'''Father:''' I dunno. This is the first place we looked.
** It also turns out that Navin's father is, unexpectedly, a financial wizard who makes millions by investing the funds that Navin was sending home.
* CreatorCameo: Carl Reiner plays himself leading a class-action suit against Navin.
* CucumberFacial
* DescriptionCut: Upon discovering his name in the phone-book:
-->'''Navin:''' Things are gonna start happening to me now!\\
''[Cut to the Sniper picking names at random out of a phone-book:]''\\
'''Sniper:''' 'Johnson, Navin R.'. Sounds like a typical bastard.
* DinnerOrderFlub: Marie gets the escargot at a fancy restaurant.
--> '''Navin:''' You would think that in a fancy restaurant at these prices you could keep the snails off the food!
* DisproportionateRetribution: A throwaway gag has the butler's wife being executed by firing squad for taking too many cash advances on her credit card.
* {{Dissimile}}: In a letter to his parents, Navin describes his girlfriend as looking just like mom, "except she's white and blonde".
* TheDitz: Navin to extreme levels.
-->'''Navin''': You mean I'm gonna stay this color?
* DoorstopBaby: How Navin wound up with the Johnsons.
* ExorcistHead: Navin's reaction to the size of the check from Stan Fox.
* FelonyMisdemeanor: [[ItMakesSenseInContext CAT JUGGLING!!]]
* FreudianExcuse: The Sniper's rampage was prompted by the breakdown of his marriage and the fact that he was quitting smoking.
* GeniusDitz: Navin lacks common sense, but he knows enough about automobiles to make the Opti-Grab.
* GroinAttack: Unfortunately, the recipient is one [[MeaningfulName "Iron Balls" McGinty.]]
* HandOrObjectUnderwear: Navin uses dogs.
* HappilyAdopted: There's no question that Navin was very happy with his adoptive family growing up.
* HeelFaceTurn: Navin's would-be assassin decides to take up a less violent line of work.
* HowWeGotHere
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold
* KindheartedSimpleton: Part of Navin's charm. As much of a bonehead as he is, for much of the movie he has nothing but the best intentions.
* LiteralMetaphor: Navin literally learns the difference between shit and Shinola.
* LongList: And that's all Navin needs!
* NiceHat: Complete with 3 foot long feather.
* ObliviousAdoption: Again, Navin was raised by an all black family. He only realizes this when his mother tells him.
* OverlyLongGag: "I know we've only known each other four weeks and three days, but to me it seems like nine weeks and five days." Navin then proceeds to [[LongList list every single day he spent with her]], explaining how long each of them felt and how they add up.
** All the things Navin claims are "all [he] needs!".
* PreAssKickingOneLiner: As Navin beats down racist landlords, he says "Sir, you are talking to a nigger!"
* RagsToRiches: And then back to rags.
* RoadTripAcrossTheStreet
* ShooTheDog: Averted, as much as Shithead wanted it played straight.
* TalkingAnimal: Shithead. Except only Navin can understand him, and even then his translation isn't always accurate.
* TrophyWife: Navin's boss (Jackie Mason) brings his hot wife to the garage to explain the importance of keeping the place safe. Without such a lucrative business how could he, of all people, get and keep such a woman? He explains that if anything happened to the business she'd leave him in a second. She nods in agreement.
* UmbrellaDrink: Navin is very partial to them.
* UnusualEuphemism: Navin's "special purpose".
* VisualPun: Navin's family had to tear down their old house, but they built a bigger house in its place. If you look closely, you'll notice that it's the exact same hovel as before, only scaled up about 40%. Hey, he said "bigger," not necessarily "nicer."