Directed byRelease dateRuntimeRYM RatingRankedLanguage Genres
Frank Tashlin
23 July 1958
103 minutes
3.19 / 5.0 0.5 from 40 ratings
#138 for 1958
English



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Details

Aspect RatioDescriptorsStudios
1.85:1
United States, Technicolor
Paramount PicturesAlternate titlesIl balio asciutto (tr/it)

ninjavsself May 01 2010 4.00 stars
It's pretty maudlin and occasionally offensive (with Lewis doing a bucktooth Chinese impression and an Italian character who calls the baby girls Gambinos and can barely be understood). But, aside from that, this is often a touching and funny film. Jerry Lewis has been pining for this girl for his whole life but she goes off to Hollywood, comes back knocked up with triplets and asks him to care of them cuz he's a sucker and will do anything she wants. But she despairs the entire time about it and considers taking the kids back, etc. She's not a villain. Anyway, Lewis is the village idiot, more or less. He has a job fixing TVs but early on we see what kind of messes he gets into. And then he gets the children. And they're cute, very cute. Yeah, yeah, yeah. The mother's sister lives in that town and she's in love with Lewis and he kind of never lets that happen because he loves big sis PLUS THE KIDS and stuff and there's a lot of stuff about how Lewis is a virtuous guy and he'll do anything she wants (that's in a lot of his movies). Basically, Lewis is kind of the misunderstood saint. Then it gets pretty cheesy with lots of manufactured drama happening and there are moments of just naked sentimental appeals to emotion but those struck me as being weirdly genuine and they seemed weirdly plausible. And I love how it all culminates with Lewis somehow turning out to be a bigamist. w00t.Second viewing: There's at least one moment in every Tashlin film that's guaranteed to blow me away (or just kind of make me feel all giddy inside). Let's see:- Jerry Lewis spurting oil from his cowboy hat while cruising through Texas in Hollywood or Bust- Debbie Reynolds barking in Susan Slept Here- Julie London singing "Cry Me a River" in The Girl Can't Help It- Shirley McLaine singing "Innamorata" to Jerry Lewis in Artists and Models- The crazy Japanese baseball player jumping into the bath and causing a flood in The Geisha Boy- The dig at TV right in the middle of Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?- Jerry Lewis turning out the lights in Cinderfella- The car chase in The Disorderly Orderly- Killer lawnmowers in It's Only MoneyI saw Rock-A-Bye Baby last year in the middle of a marathon Tashlin session and perhaps it didn't shine as much as it could've coming right after Rock Hunter (which, like Mulholland Dr., offers up all that's great about its director in the most perfectly constructed and balanced way). Anyway, the moment in Rock-A-Bye Baby that completely blew me away was... well, actually, there were quite a few. You have Connie Stevens wondering why Jerry Lewis won't love her in the sublime "Why Can't He Care for Me?" Tashlin is noted for making live-action cartoons and crap, but he sure does understand melancholy well. Why else would Jerry sing "Love is a Lonely Thing." This might actually be the most beautiful of Tashlin's films. These are VistaVision dreams of the highest order. There's this one scene where Jerry is in this little spot beside a brook and he talks about how much this place meant to him when he was a kid and the camera moves slightly to reveal this little set of flowers that is shaped as a heart and then this golden glow comes in and the camera moves again to reveal a younger Jerry Lewis singing to his childhood sweetheart. I seriously cried whenever Lewis sang along with his younger self. It's pretty much everything that is good in the world put into a single sequenceMan, these are seriously beautiful and hilarious films. Why haven't you seen them yet?


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