The World’s Greatest Lover (1977)
Directed by Gene Wilder
Starring: Gene Wilder, Carol Kane, Dom DeLuise
In addition to being one of the great comedic actors, Gene Wilder also got behind the camera. His works as a director include The Woman in Red and Haunted Honeymoon. This movie is another one of his films, one which he wrote and starred in, in addition to directing. His co-stars include Carol Kane and Dom DeLuise. Kane is best known for Annie Hall, Hester Street and Dog Day Afternoon. Dom DeLuise is another well-known face, popular for his work with Mel Brooks on films over several decades.
Rudy Valentine (Wilder) is a baker with an itch to be something more. When a big studio launches a search for an actor to rival the great Valentino, Rudy heads West in search of a new life. He finds a small amount of success despite having no acting skills to speak of. Despite his new found success he’s also looking for love, a search filled with misadventure.
This is another example of the unique brand of comedy that comes from the minds of people like Gene Wilder. Only a handful of people can work with this type of story and bring out this much comedy. Wilder is great in front of the camera as the awkward and often neurotic type. A role he has duplicated many times over his career. Add in Kane and Dom DeLuise and you have a great team. Together they shared an obvious friendship on the screen which feels genuine as your see their interactions. The rest of the cast are equally good, especially all the people who had to play the straight roles during some ridiculous scenes.
This is a really funny movie, but it’s not one destined for greatness. I think this brand of comedy might not reach a wide enough range of viewers. It’s just one of those things that really seems to make comedy a hard thing to do for a broad audience. Still, I really love Wilder and I hope that some of you will go out and experience his genius as well. I give this one 3.3 out of 5 stars.