Movie Review: THE JERK (40th Anniversary Edition) Blu-ray

THE JERK was directed by comic legend Carl Reiner from a screenplay by Carl Gottlieb, Michael Elias and Steve Martin who stars in his feature film debut alongside Bernadette Peters, Rob Reiner, Bill Macy and M. Emmet Walsh

Martin stars as Navin Johnson, the adopted son of a poor black sharecropping family in Mississippi. When he learns that the world is a much bigger place than he’d ever imagined, Navin sets out on a quest to find his “special purpose.” His adventures lead him to encounter a would-be assassin, jobs in carnivals and gas stations, a life-saving dog, romance with the girl of his dreams and more money than he could ever spend. But his life in the clouds may come crashing down when the source of his new fame and fortune creates disastrous side effects.

Navin Johnson (Steve Martin) was born a poor black child but he doesn’t have any rhythm like the rest of his family. Navin lives with his adoptive black family and when he gets the shocking news that he’ll always be white, he leaves his home in Mississippi and sets out on a hilarious misadventure of self-discovery that lands him in St. Louis. Navin takes several jobs as he makes all kinds of new discoveries in life, like finding his name in the phone book. His first job is at a gas station and his inexperience in dealing with the public shows just how different he is from everyone else.

The special thing about Naven is that he’s so innocent and naive when it comes to the real world that it hits the people he meets in different ways. There’s this one guy who’s continuously trying to shoot him and then there’s Marie (Bernadette Peters) who wins his heart at the carnival. The two instantly hit it off but have to deal with several obstacles along the way, things like getting filthy rich because of Navin’s invention and then losing it all because of Navin’s stupidity. Marie takes a little time away from Navin who ends up homeless on the streets, but in the end, the two find out how strong their love really is and that there’s no place like home. Plus, Navin finally finds his rhythm.

The packaging comes with a slipcover/0-card. The front features the all-new artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. The reverse sleeve features some original artwork and movie credits so you have your pick of which side you’d like to use for the front cover. The Blu-ray disc also features some artwork that matches the front cover. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. This Shout Select release was remastered from a brand-new 2K scan. The picture and sound quality for this  high-def upgrade were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio. 

Bottom line is, The Jerk was already one of my all-time favorite comedies (it’s in my top 3) and the movie looks and sounds pristine with the new 2K remaster it was given. Steve Martin has his own unique style of comedy that has cemented him as one of the greatest comic performers of all time and this first outing for him not only showcases his comedic talents but it serves as his own personal calling card that opened the doors for his impressive film career. The story takes goofball slapstick comedy to the max and Martin is so funny with his comedic timing and delivery. It’s a wonder that his costars were able to keep a straight face so they could get their scenes done. Steve Martin isn’t alone in The Jerk because he’s surrounded by a great cast and then there’s director Carl Reiner who did an amazing job capturing so much of the humor that this 1979 comedy classic possesses. The Jerk celebrates its 40th anniversary with this fantastic Blu-ray release from Shout Select that’ll be available on December 18th. 

Distributor: Shout! Factory

Run Time: 94 Minutes

Rated: R

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.85:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0

Subtitles: English 

Special Features: Good Stuff! The extras include two fantastic conversation featurettes, a “how to” video, “lost film strips” scenes, three trailers and five radio spots.

  • NEW Remastered from a Brand-New 2K Transfer
  • NEW A Conversation with Steve Martin and Carl Reiner (26:35)
  • NEW A Conversation with Writers Michael Elias and Carl Gottlieb (24:40)
  • Learn How to Play “Tonight You Belong To Me” (07:04)
  • The Lost Film Strips of Father Carols Las Vegas De Cordova (04:20)
  • Theatrical Trailer (02:30)
  • Teaser Trailer (00:33)
  • Exhibitor’s Trailer (02:29)
  • Radio Spots (03:03)
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