Whilst we may know people who are naturally funny and humorous, this has been proven to be a trait which can be trained, like kindness. For comedic roles, actors do not need to be in the natural category, they just need to deliver the lines. In the case of The Blues Brothers (1980) though, the actors playing the brothers, Belushi and Aykroyd, are comedy writers too: the same ones who originally spearheaded the popular sketch show Saturday Night Live.
Jake and Elwood Blues are brothers. One has just been released from prison, and upon reuniting, they are sadly informed that the Catholic orphanage in which they grew up needs $5000, in a matter of days. What else to do but reform their band and use their musical chops to get the money pronto. After all, in their words, it is a mission from God. Speeding around in their ‘Bluesmobile’ to get the band together, they are chased by police and later, barrel through a neo-Nazi rally making more enemies. This hilarious yet chaotic pursuit spans the entirety of the film leaving house-sized car pileups. It is important to mention at this point that the plot of the film mostly revolves around the live performance of music. Gradually luring back each member like in a heist movie, the band is back for a packed final show at the Palace Hotel Ballroom.
I was impressed by the musical numbers, which had a high level of fidelity and was also evident in the overall production. Crucially, this is a film that lightens the mood and is deeply funny. I got the sense that this was written as a comedy from the ground up, rather than something retrofit with one liners. My only niggle is the unnecessary appearance of Jake’s ex-fiancée who fires explosives at him. Otherwise this is an inspired film that helps stave off the blues.