Tears of a Clown
Life Stinks
Review by Ross Anthony

Mel Brooks plays a "high society" billionaire with no sense of humanity to balance all that wealth. He accidentally stumbles into a bet motivated by greed and pride. In order to win he must survive one month as a homeless, penniless "derelict" in the streets of Los Angeles.

For me, Mel Brooks has always been a risk. He has his moments, when he's on -- he's really very funny. But, he takes a lot of shots and most of those shots aren't gems.

Additionally, these days (I viewed this film on cable in 2004), he's "old School" comedy. Anyway, "Life Stinks" isn't really a Brooks film. Actually it seems to have a hard time deciding exactly what it is. In the open and close the film favors the slapstick, but in its center the film plays nearly purely dramatic. This leaves one with a disjointed feeling.

The Brooksonian slapstick here is nothing to rent the film over. Oddly, it's the serious moments that give the film its charm. A pathetic homeless woman rants about the woes that brought her to the street as a speechless Brooks looks on compassionately. Ironically, Brooks' strongest moments in this picture are these wordless, nearly expressionless reaction shots as his character starts to feel compassion for the first time in his life. It's subtle; it's surprisingly very believable, and rather shockingly moving. I was embarrassed to myself for being truly choked up by Mel Brooks.

This theme is nothing new, but a wholesome one. But, I'd have preferred more continuity and a better-developed script.


  • Life Stinks. Copyright © 1991.
  • Starring Mel Brooks, Lesley Ann Warren, Jeffrey Tambor.
  • Directed by Mel Brooks.
  • Screenplay by Rudy DeLuca.
  • Produced at MGM.

Grade..........................B (2/4)

Copyright © 1998-2012 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at HollywoodReportCard.com, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: www.RossAnthony.com or call 1-800-767-7186. Check out his other sites too: Author*Illustrator*Speaker, Motobookothon 2009, M9, Write Triangle, TwT. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:04:57 PDT