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The Jerk 12 rating

Steve Martin brought his sensational standup persona to the screen, in his utterly hilarious screen debut about a loser who momentarily finds success.

Comedy 1979 94 mins

Director: Carl Reiner



The Jerk is Navin R. Johnson (Steve Martin), who regales us with his hilarious life story, which begins in poverty as part of an adopted African-American family. Soon after Navin leaves for St Louis to find his place in the world, along the way becoming an assassin’s target, part of a travelling carnival and a famous inventor. But is it all too good to be true?

Martin drew on elements of his wildly successful stand-up act when writing The Jerk, paving the way for a remarkably successful Hollywood career. But he was never funnier - and the anarchy rarely flowed as freely - as here, in his debut film. His 'idiot savant' persona was also hugely influential, inspiring a range of comic leading men from Jim Carrey to Adam Sandler.