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martin and lewis, biographical film, biography, review, biopic

Martin and Lewis (2002)

“It aint the jokes, trust me!” Jerry explains to Dean in this ‘Martin and Lewis’ biopic. “They just love watching us”. The same is true of this film itself. It aint the movie! We just love watching the fine performances given by Sean Hayes and Jeremy Northam.

The movie opens in 1943 as both men get ready to perform their solo acts in opposite parts of New York, and immediately establishes the differences between them. Yet despite the gulf between their personalities, Martin and Lewis hit it off when they appear on the same bill three years later. Shortly thereafter, they team up and become the biggest stars of their time, headlining nightclubs, radio, television and films.

Unfortunately the differences so evident from the beginning continue to niggle away at their partnership. The pair’s individual faults find no comfort in each other, as Jerry’s neediness constantly clashes against Dean’s aloofness. By the end of their 10 years together, the two couldn’t stand each other. 

Most of the acting plaudits have been directed towards Hayes, but Northam’s performance cannot be overlooked. Apart from capturing Martin’s speech and mannerisms, he successfully fleshes out a character who otherwise seems content to just breeze through life. Like Martin and Lewis themselves, this biopic would have been considerably diminished without his performance as 'Dino'.

film review, biopic
cast, Sean Hayes, Jerry Lewis, Jeremy Northam, Dean Martin
gloria dehaven, fact check, fact vs fiction, inaccuracies, true story

Biopic features scene in which Jerry Lewis unknowingly insults Lucky Luciano. According to Dean Martin biographer Nick Tosches, the mobster was actually Albert Anastasia, who ran Murder Inc and later became head of the Gambino family.


Closing credits claim that all of Jerry Lewis's solo movies were box office hits. In reality, Which Way To The Front (1970) bombed so badly at the box-office that it would be more than ten years before he released another film.

scene comparison, Bill Lake, Hal Wallis, David Eisner, Lew Wasserman

Biopic features glimpses of My Friend Irma and Three Ring Circus. More time is dedicated to recreating the team's nightclub and television performances.

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