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Review: Jerry Lewis Spirals into Madness In ‘Max Rose’

Review: Jerry Lewis Spirals into Madness In ‘Max Rose’


Jerry Lewis takes the audience on an emotional roller coaster as he struggles with the horrible possibility of his late wife’s infidelity in ‘Max Rose.’


Starring the seemingly timeless and iconic 90 year old Jerry Lewis in his first leading role in more than twenty years tells a deeply moving tale of Max, an aging Jazz musician who we find in his retirement and mourning the loss of his wife of over 60 years. But Max’s quiet retirement quickly takes a turn for the worse as his wife past devotion comes into question in this shocking revelation filled showcase of talent for Jerry Lewis, anxiety inducing drama ‘Max Rose.’

Cinematics (Cinematography, Acting, Plot, Etc.) – 4

Most popularly know for his lead role in the original ‘Nutty Professor,’ Jerry Lewis takes the audience on an emotional roller coaster as he wades through the waves of emotion cast from the vexing thought of his dear late wife’s potential infidelity. After a turbulent stint of unadulterated rage and staggering withdrawal Max, in a fit of desperation, sets his sights on tracking the man who allegedly charmed the heart of his late wife and intern finding truth and closure to this heartbreaking revelation.

Written and directed by Daniel Noah, ‘Max Rose’ is a story about knowing your past, living in present and the hope for a bright future. Jerry Lewis (Max) is joined by a supporting cast starring Claire Bloom as Max’s late wife Eva, Kevin Pollack, Kerry Bishe, Mort Sahl, Dean Stockwell, Rance Howard, and Lee Weaver.

The story is quite enigmatic, emotionally gruelling and engaging, however director Noah’s need to place the cherry on top with a happy ending made for a basic and disappointingly vanilla finale. It’s disappointing that the appealingly off-kilter story almost feels to be abandoned in the third act and forced into an ending befitting a more mainstream blockbuster.


Jerry Lewis (left) as Max Rose & Lee Weaver (right) as Lee Miller in ‘Max Rose’ (2016).

Entertainment Value – 3

Jerry Lewis is absolutely entrancing. It is amazing to see a Hollywood icon like Lewis come to screen with some much nuanced talent at such an advanced age. Despite Lewis’ notoriety in the world of comedy, this dark and tragedy laced drama proves that his on-screen chops extend far beyond his typical slapstick routine. This is not Lewis first departure from comedy, as the Martin Scorsese’s 1982 comedic crime drama ‘The King of Comedy’ placed Lewis alongside Robert De’Niro for what was supposed to be an Academy Award hopeful.

‘Max Rose’ brings Lewis out of retirement and puts him in such a contrasting role, that it’s hard to not create some innate sense of entertainment. Overall the film is a bit choppy, which I think adds to the bewilderment and whirlwind of emotion Lewis’ character is facing. At the same time the inexperience of the filmmaker manifests itself in the third act, as the direction fails to fully capitalize on the immense talent of the highly-capable cast.

Re-Watchability – 3

I would definitely recommend ‘Max Rose’ to any die hard Jerry Lewis fan, especially those interested to see his more serious work, such as ‘The King of Comedy.’

On the other hand, while artful and interesting the first time around, I cannot see much depth to bring me back for a continued repeat viewing. An undoubtedly worthy watch, but not a likely addition to one’s film library.


Watch the official trailer for ‘Max Rose’ below:

  • Cinematics
  • Entertainment Value
  • Rewatchability


Jerry Lewis' 'Max Rose' takes the audience on an emotional roller coaster as he wades through the waves of emotion, but the inexperience of writer/director Daniel Noah shows itself as the artful indie derails into a generic 3rd act more-so befitting a blockbuster.

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About The Author


Since his wee lad-dom, Pooya has been a sommelier of cinema. It was likely some acting bug, fallen from the dust riddled ruby curtains of an enchanted old stage that did it. Those cinematic scarabs must have burrowed deep into his brain, irreversibly altering his mind, turning the poor boy down a dismal path. From his earliest years the strange boy would aimlessly wander the aisles of countless video rental stores, amassing his trivial knowledge with vigor. These actions befuddled the boy’s parents, who still would lovingly oblige his unusual attraction to the motion picture. Often seeking refuge in the cushioned seating of his local movie theater, the odd adolescent would immerse himself in the scripted and effects riddled realities unfolding on the screen before him. During his collegiate years, he was twice spotted on stage performing bizarre theatrical rituals before awe-struck audiences. When he departed from academia, he left behind his youth in exchange for a labor routine, but the strange young man never lost his long-cultivated love of film. Recently, Pooya was approached by to join their budding team of entertainment bloggers. After hours of coaxing and an undisclosed number of honey jars, he accepted their offer. Finally he had come full circle. Finally, at, he was home.

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