“I know you’re a sergeant and I’m only a private. The least you could do is be a little friendly!”
A private (Jerry Lewis) and a sergeant (Dean Martin) deal with bureaucracy and mishaps in a WWII army training camp.
Based on a play by James Allardice, At War With the Army was Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin’s first starring vehicle together, and thus holds a special place in film history. On its own merits, it comes across as a mildly amusing — though often stagy — spoof of military rigmarole, along the lines of Joseph Heller’s Catch-22. Lewis and Martin don’t have enough screen time together, but each performs admirably on his own: Lewis is as wacky as ever, and Martin is appropriately suave. An ongoing sub-plot about a beautiful but dumb pregnant woman (Jean Ruth) trying to get ahold of former-flame Martin leads to a satisfying, unexpected conclusion.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Jerry Lewis as Alvin Korwin
- A clever skewering of military bureaucracy and hierarchies
Yes, simply for its historical status as Lewis and Martin’s first film together.