This movie is a dark comedy about celebrity obsession. I had to keep reminding myself that it was a dark comedy because I was expecting too much from it from a psychological point of view.
You can tell straight away that Rupert Pupkin [Robert De Niro] is obsessed with Jerry Langford [Jerry Lewis] because he’s wearing almost identical clothes to him. The way he talks to him is as if they’ve been friends for years and, in Pupkin’s mind, they have been. Scary stuff.
He’s 34 and lives with his mum who does the classic shouting from upstairs and ruins things for her son.
I love that we see Pupkin’s fantasies. There isn’t much difference to the way they’re shot to the way reality is shot which emphasizes the fact that Pupkin can’t distinguish reality from fantasy. Its incredibly clever because soon, the audience can’t make out what’s reality and what’s fantasy. At the beginning, its kind of obvious because it cuts between the fantasy and him in reality acting out the fantasy. There’s another hint that its fantasy because everyone always praises Pupkin and ‘beg for forgiveness for being wrong’. Then there’s a scene where he’s in Langford’s house and I thought it was a fantasy because of the way Pupkin and his love interest were talking until Langford comes in and I go “OMG ITS REAL! AH! NO!” I almost want to protect Pupkin because I don’t want him to get hurt but at the same time, I want to slap him and try and get him to understand that they aren’t really friends.
And its not just Pupkin that’s proper obsessed with Langford, there’s a woman called Mashes [Sandra Bernhard]. She thinks that they’re romantically involved and that they should be together. Pupkin and her are originally enemies or rivals because they both think they’re more important to Langford. Bernhard is brilliant as this mental woman.
The ‘date’ between Mashes and Langford was parodied in Family Guy, I recognized the scene straight away. Shame I don’t love Family Guy anymore.
When Pupkin finally gets his moment to shine, I found myself hoping that he was funny and that the audience like him because I felt that after everything he went through to get there [even if it was mentally unstable and illegal], he deserves to be good and loved. I shouldn’t’ feel like that towards him as he’s mental and he kidnapped the guy! He’s a bad guy but then again I know he’s mentally unstable and therefore I feel sorry for him.
The ending… at first I thought it was crap because I was like “what!? That’s it?!” but now I think about it… its all about whether you think the ending is real or fantasy. I love that at the end, the audience can’t tell the difference, just like Langford can’t. Brilliant. I now think it’s a brilliant ending, one of the best I’ve seen. Probably second best ending, first is The Italian Job [original, obviously].
I’d say this is a must watch. And I’d also like to say HURRAH! I’m only 1 film behind schedule now! I’m so glad that I got two films in a row that I really wanted to see.