Follow TV Tropes


Film / Hardly Working

Go To

A 1980 comedy film, billed as Jerry Lewis's big comeback movie after a decade away from the silver screen (the unreleased The Day the Clown Cried notwithstanding). Lewis plays Bo Hooper, a clown who suddenly finds himself out of a job after his circus goes out of business. With the other circuses not hiring anyone for the better part of six months, Bo is forced to move in with his sister (Susan Oliver) and brother-in-law (Roger C. Carmel) and find another job to tide him over until he can go back to full-time clowning. Thanks to his chronic clumsiness, however, Hilarity Ensues.

The film was a big hit in Europe and had more than made its budget back by the time it got a stateside release in mid-1981... which was just as well, considering it ended up being released as a butchered re-edit and bombed with critics. It did do well at the box office and especially in the growing VHS market, however, and is now considered something of a Cult Classic, even if Lewis himself wasn't too proud of the end result.

For the unrelated webseries, see here.

This film contains examples of:

  • Asian Buck Teeth: The chef has these.
  • Bait-and-Switch: You'd expect Bo to be fired from the antique store for mass-breakage of vases or somesuch, right? Wrong — he gets fired because he mistook a fire hose connector for an antique, and on trying to remove it from the wall, soaked a wealthy client. Nothing else is damaged, but he gets fired regardless.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Bo is a clumsy person at the best of times, so you can only imagine how badly things go when he ends up working as a bartender at a strip joint. It ends up being his shortest-lasting job, after he falls foul of the cardinal rule not to touch the girls.
  • Excuse Plot: The storyline basically just provides a framework for Jerry Lewis to perform his act in various different workplaces, with occasional interventions to show either his brother-in-law accusing him of being a mooch, or his developing relationship with Millie.
  • George Jetson Job Security: Surprisingly enough, averted for the most part. Bo's employers show a remarkable amount of patience considering how clumsy and outright destructive he is.
  • Painting the Fourth Wall: No outright breaks, but Lewis glances aside to the audience on quite a few occasions.
  • Take That!: Not in the film itself, but the advertising billed Lewis as "The Original Jerk," in a pot-shot at the then-recent Steve Martin hit The Jerk.