‘The Man with Two Brains’: Comedy Genius (review)

This is a comedy inspired by old sci-fi movies, co-written by Steve Martin and Carl Reiner. Martin is Dr. Michael Hfuhruhurr, (pronounced hu-furrrr) a brilliant but lonely brain surgeon. He meets and soon marries Dolores (Kathleen Turner), who turns out to be a conniving gold digger. While at a medical conference in Austria, he is broached by Dr. Necessiter (David Warner), who wants to share his new research: he can keep brains alive in jars. Michael falls in love with one such brain—Ann Uumellmahaye (voice of Sissy Spacek). Because Ann is dying in the jar, Michael has to hurry to find her a suitable body.

Although it has its share of dumb jokes, more often it’s very funny. There aren’t many good stills, so I’ve included clips of some of my favorite gags. And despite being made in the early ’80s, it’s not too dated—the average viewer isn’t really up to date on brain surgery. Steve Martin gives a great performance as the egotistical but well-meaning Michael; even Martin’s tendency toward overacting is appropriate here, given his character is based on clichéd mad scientists.

Also interesting is the subtle message that looks aren’t everything. Michael marries Dolores largely because of her appearance, which she uses to manipulate him and other men throughout the movie. In contrast, he realizes that Ann is sweet, kind, and interesting, with or without a body. As he puts it, he is “aroused by a mind.”

I’ve seen the movie five or six times now, and it’s still amusing to me. I even laughed to myself while writing this. One of my favorite scenes is when Michael has to take an Austrian drunk test, which is included below. It’s silly but not moronic—check it out if you like old sci-fi movies, new sci-fi parodies, or just want a good laugh.


Published by GhoulieJoe

I wuvs the horror movies and like to write snarky reviews about them. I also included some pretentious as hell microfiction (don't worry, it's at the bottom).

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