Movie Monologue Monday – Steve Martin in The Jerk

Steve Martin in The Jerk

Steve Martin in The Jerk

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.

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Craig Mason