John Landis Pauline Kael - Essay

Pauline Kael

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

It has taken all these years for Aretha Franklin to reach the screen—and then she's on for only one number! Getting her into "The Blues Brothers" was the smartest thing that the director, John Landis, did; letting her get away after that number was the dumbest. (p. 95)

This musical slapstick farce, set in Chicago, is good-natured, in a sentimental, folk-bop way, but its big joke is how over-scaled everything in it is, and that one sequence that's really alive is relatively small-scale. John Landis has a lot of comic invention and isn't afraid of silliness, but in terms of slapstick craft he's still an amateur. This showed in "Animal House," but it didn't seem to matter as much there: the sloppiness...

(The entire section is 438 words.)