Why Worry? (1923)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Adventure Comedy, Slapstick  |   Run Time - 77 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Janiss Garza

In spite of thin characterizations and a slip of a plot, Harold Lloyd's last film for Hal Roach is one of his funniest features. Its gags are especially inspired, and while Lloyd's character, the wealthy hypochondriac Harold Van Pelham, is pretty much one-dimensional, it's still a fine satirical commentary on American attitudes and ideals. Lloyd's "glasses" character, which he played in every film he made after 1917, is the quintessential 1920s American -- earnest, often a brash go-getter and able to overcome any obstacle with energy and ingenuity. But there's also a dark side underneath these attributes, which includes selfishness, self-centeredness and a sense of entitlement. In Why Worry? Lloyd turns these disagreeable traits into a source of amusement -- when informed that the country he is visiting is in the midst of a revolution, Van Pelham waves it off with, "Tell them to stop it. I came down here for a rest." Van Pelham, however, is quite likable in spite of his pompous behavior; at heart he's a well-meaning soul. While he thoughtlessly takes his pretty nurse (Jobyna Ralston) for granted, he's also obviously -- and unabashedly -- in love with her, and she with him. Many of the best comic moments involve the relationship between the millionaire and the giant Colosso (John Aasen, a 503-pound, eight foot, nine inch gent who was found in Minneapolis after a nationwide hunt). The giant becomesVan Pelham's willing slave and helps quell the annoying revolution by throwing soldiers around like dolls -- Van Pelham, meanwhile, is rooting around amongst the unconscious, unsuccessfully searching for a pair of shoes that fit his tender feet. In spite of the cultural and technological advances over the decades, Americans don't see themselves much differently than they did in the roaring 20s. Maybe this explains why Lloyd's comedies have weathered the years so well -- Why Worry? in particular because it even inspires Americans to laugh at their own foibles.