“From the first day I got here, I’ve caused everybody nothing but trouble.”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
… fails at the seemingly simple task of bringing a few updated script pages to a room full of secretaries:
… and, when mistaken for an extra, completely ruins the scene he’s in by bursting into song.
From there, however, Morty’s travails become increasingly repetitive and/or pointless, with several (i.e., Morty’s botched trip to the car wash with his boss’s laryngitis-ridden wife) simply defying all intelligence.
Much like in Lewis’s directorial debut, The Bellboy, the point here seems to be simply to watch Lewis’s nebbishy alter-ego meandering through a series of mishaps within a defined space — but while The Bellboy‘s blessedly mute Stanley is just one among many pawns in an enjoyably wacky universe, Morty (as usual for most of Lewis’s protagonists) quickly becomes simply a tiresome nuisance. Worst of all, the film’s nominal plot device — Morty being sent out to spy on his fellow employees — is simply never attended to in the screenplay, until a final mawkish sequence (loved by many, but not me) in which Lewis confesses his frustrations to a puppet.
Worst of all is the incredibly self-serving denouement, which highlights Lewis’s arrogance as a performer more clearly than I’ve ever seen before. Yet there are at least a few sequences in The Errand Boy which make it worth your time to check out — most notably the justifiably lauded “board room” pantomime scene (available to view on YouTube). This scene alone shows evidence of Lewis’s intermittent genius.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments: