Daniel Noah’s soapy Max Rose has been through several editorial changes since its disastrous premiere at Cannes in 2013, but it still has exactly one thing going for it: being what’s surely the final starring role for Jerry Lewis, who was 86 during filming and is still around to see its release at 90. Jerry is Max, a famous jazz pianist dealing with the death of his wife Eva (Claire Bloom), made worse by new evidence that she may have cheated on him in 1959. He’s also struggling against the attempts of his beloved granddaughter Annie (Halt and Catch Fire‘s Kerry Bishé) and his not-so-beloved son Christopher (Kevin Pollak, looking thrilled to be acting opposite Jerry Lewis) to put him into an assisted living home. The plodding, maudlin Max Rose‘s best moments rely heavily on the audience’s familiarity with Jerry’s persona, and while it’s great to see him busting out some of his old schtick when playing with his great-grandchildren or hanging out with fellow 1950s comedy legend Mort Sahl, it doesn’t fit the character at all. It would have made more sense as a sequel to The King of Comedy, but Max Rose is what it is, and at least Jerry is still with us.
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