This week’s Movie Monologue is going to look at Steve Martin in The Jerk.
Martin is a master of comedy and this scene is played brilliantly. It’s a spoof of the cliché breakup scene where one partner tells the other, “I don’t need you! I don’t need anything.” and storms out of the room. As you’ll see in the piece, Martin has a slightly different take…
I love the build of the monologue. It starts simply and gets progressively more complicated.
I love Martin’s dedication to craft in the scene. He gives a masterclass in comedy. As goofy as it appears, it works because the stakes remain high, nothing is played just for a laugh, and every word and action is character-driven and motivated. This is greatly helped by Bernadette Peters, who plays the scene 100% straight.
I love the camera work. It’s almost as if the camera has no idea where Martin is going to move and what he is going to do next.