Acclaimed by critics everywhere for its zany comedy and terrific cast, FUNNY BONES is big laughs for everyone! Struggling in the shadow of his famous comedian father (world-renowned entertainer Jerry Lewis), a young comic ... more »(Oliver Platt -- THE THREE MUSKETEERS, GUN SHY) retreats to his old hometown when his act bombs in Las Vegas. Ready to try anything for inspiration, he's in for more than a few surprises before learning that his own eccentric family is the best material for a perfect act! You'll want to discover for yourself this uncommon comedy treat that's packed with unforgettable fun!« less
"Whether you label this film as a black comedy or as a dark familial drama with bits of comedy thrown in, FUNNY BONES is a brilliantly dark masterpiece containing first rate acting performances by all of the principals, and especially Lee Evans (There's Something About Mary, Mousehunt). In fact, it is Lee Evans who super-charges this movie with his complex and outrageously funny portrayal of the disturbed comic genius Jack Parker.
The supporting cast, including the brilliant Jerry Lewis, Leslie Caron, George Carl, and Oliver Reed, all offer strong performances as does Oliver Platt, playing the failed comic Tommy Fawkes, who goes back to the Blackpool, England of his early youth in search of the secrets of comedy. He will eventually uncover many of these secrets, as well as some dark family secrets he didn't anticipate finding. Lewis plays a supporting role as Tommy's father, a superstar comic who rules the Las Vegas strip and overshadows his son.
The quirky citizens of Blackpool, including the aforementioned Jack Parker, add charm, comedy, and warmth to this film. At times disturbing, heartbreaking, suspenseful, and hysterical, FUNNY BONES is an odd little film, but one that lends itself to many viewings.
I review very few films, but feel compelled to recommend FUNNY BONES since few people seem to have seen it and because it is one of my favorite films of all time.
Jeremy W. Forstadt"
An insightfully dramatic look at comedians and family.
tal | PASADENA, CALIFORNIA USA | 02/21/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have grown to love this movie. The first time I saw it I was put off and disturbed. Yet, it stayed with me. I wanted to and did see it many more times. The tension between Oliver Platt, as the failed son of superstar Jerry Lewis, is palpable. The shock Platt's character suffers when learning his father stole his material from Blackpool vaudevillians seems to redeem and reinspire Platt. The many Blackpool comics who you see add splashes of color and old-fashioned slapstick talent to this drama. The "Parker Brothers" from whom Lewis stole his material are completely bizarre yet utterly charming. Platt's newly discovered half-brother (Lee Evans) is the unheralded star of the show, playing a disturbed yet highly talented physical comic. Some of the best scenes involve Platt and Evans' new routine and a visit to a morgue. Jerry Lewis is wonderful in a backing role, a Las Vegas superstar whose dark secrets are revealed, becoming more human and less of an obstacle for his troubled sons. The more I see this film the more I spot the details and many layers to the story. What makes this movie special are the tensions between the characters and the challenges each overcomes when Platt's travels unveil the past and reinvigorate a seemingly more innocent and forgotten community of performers. Poignant comic moments abound but, again, this is a drama. Because this is such a unique film, I think it must have been a nightmare to market. You can't accurately describe it in 10 words or less. "Troubling and inspiring" occurs to me, but that won't sell tickets. Fortunately for you, it's inexpensive and regularly appearing on cable tv if you want a trial run. A worthwhile addition to my DVD library."
Walk Softly And Carry A Big Shtick
El Lagarto | Sandown, NH | 02/26/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Funny Bones is a hilarious black comedy that got overlooked because it is too smart and multi-faceted for easy categorization. Admittedly the film has flaws. The Vegas-Blackpool connection is something of a kluge, and the Parker Brothers vaudeville act is a far cry from the Tommy Fawkes - two dogs walk into a bar - style of comedy that begins the movie. The sub-plot of stolen life-preserving powder, corrupt policemen, and French-Egyptians is a distraction at best, although the severed feet do provide a splendid "running" gag. But these criticisms are trivial when compared to what the movie gets right.
First, it totally understands the relationship between humor and pain, and gives an honest and sympathetic view of this bond, a bond that is closer than liver and onions, corned beef and cabbage, wang and chung. Next it features some true comedy genius, primarily thanks to Lee Evans as a semi-autistic virtual mime who is as funny in his interactions with a police psychologist as he is on stage in his one-man radio-riffing manic extravaganza. Those few minutes alone are worth the price of the movie, as is the scene where he and Platt sneak into the mortuary to retrieve the severed feet. Evans, Jack, has cleverly decided to stash the feet in a ski-boot case, and, to complete his disguise, carries a pair of skis with him. Priceless.
Equally inspired are the scenes where assorted Blackpool entertainers audition, (you'll replay this many times), and when we finally get to see the Parker Brothers do their famous act - vaudeville at its very best. That the Parker Brothers live inside a roller coaster and earn their living as human mannequins in a chamber of horrors train-ride is simply par for the course in Funny Bones.
Oliver Platt is very good as a man trying to survive a narcissistic and insufferable father. Leslie Caron still looks good although her contribution is minor, and Oliver Reed makes the most of a small part. The surprise is Jerry Lewis. This is not the obnoxious, pseudo-retarded Jerry Lewis you've come to know and hate through decades of despicable films. This is the Jerry Lewis you saw in King Of Comedy, another movie that looked unflinchingly at the relationship between comedy and pain. He's not on camera much, but every moment he is rings true and affirms the movie's authenticity.
Wonderfully cracked, characters you have to love, extremely funny, well made. Don't miss this one. And the first dog says...."
What would you trade for comedic talent?
El Lagarto | 11/21/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie veers brilliantly between the joy of comedy and the pain that lies just beneath its surface. It gets messy at times, but only because it sets high expectations for itself. It's a movie that will pop into your mind later, both for its humor and its poignancy.Oliver Platt and Lee Evans were new to me in this one, and give dead-on performances. Evans produces two of the best comedic scenes I've ever watched, and the movie has several glorious set pieces. Make no mistake, though: this is not a comedy overall. It is a character-driven drama with soaring moments of slapstick and vaudeville. The grim moments mentioned in other reviews are disturbing, but provide counterpoint to the humor. In tone, this movie is similar to the Coen brothers' movies- eclectic, moving, and funny. At ten bucks it's a fantastic bargain."
An exploration of the line between comedy and tragedy
El Lagarto | 12/17/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film is one of my lifetime top ten. It finds the line between comedy and tragedy and pushes and pulls you back and forth over it. You never know how any scene is going to turn out. be prepared for ANYTHING! Hysterically funny and deeply painful at the same time. An absolutely wonderful movie."