Who’s Harry Crumb is a 1980’s comedy starring John Candy. It was written by Robert Conte and Peter Martin Worthmann. Paul Flaherty directed it. It’s definitely a vehicle for John Candy and fans of his will most likely be pleased at this showcase for the talented comedy actor. The story is a very simple one. John Candy stars as the titular character, Harry Crumb. His grandfather and father were some of the best private eyes around but Harry has never really been able to live up to the family legacy. When the daughter of a business tycoon is kidnapped Harry gets a shot at the high publicity case and jumps on it with gusto. With the help of the kidnapped victim’s sister he manages to blunder his way to saving the day.
There are definitely humorous aspects to this movie and it is meant to deliver what I think is a great message. Namely one about getting out from other people’s shadows and finding your own talents and worth in your own way. So that much was enjoyable. But I never really got hooked into it as much as I was hoping. Part of the problem for me was that I never really found myself caring for Harry Crumb. He’s a decent enough guy, don’t get me wrong. Compared to the virtual parade of low-life’s in this movie he is a saint. But unlike other John Candy roles I’ve seen, he never struck me as lovable or someone that I really wanted to root for in the movie. In his role in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (my absolute favorite John Candy movie) he played a guy who was an overbearing loud-mouth but you still knew he had a kind heart and you couldn’t help but excuse his antics. There was a child-like innocence to him in that movie that kept you hooked into him as he created one mess after another. Perhaps it’s unfair of me to make the comparison but this wasn’t present in Who’s Harry Crumb. Sure Harry creates messes and blunders but without the child-like innocence. Instead he almost has a swagger and confidence in spite of his ineptitude. Perhaps that will work for other people but for me it just rubbed me the wrong way. He also wears several disguises throughout the film that, in my opinion, played to stereotypes in poor taste.
However that being said the film does provide a lot of physical humor and showcases John Candy’s talents in that department. It is, for the most part, light fun as it goes from one comedy escapade after another. It just never really grabbed me the way I was hoping it would. I tend to look for something more to invest in with my entertainment. But in fairness physical comedy was never my favorite type of comedy. Fans of farcical slapstick eighties films may enjoy this movie more than I did. For me though Who’s Harry Crumb wasn’t a very memorable movie just a way to pass 90-minutes.
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