Tom Mankiewicz’s film Delirious is a prime example of how not to make a comedy: take a funny man (the fantastically talented John Candy) and get him to do stuff that fat people are not supposed to do like falling in love with a sex-bomb and riding a horse. Ha ha, my ribs are aching. It’s so funny to see a fat man in love. Especially if he’s in love with a sex kitten. See the fat man drool over the bimbo! Golly gosh, fat men have sexual desire. Ho ho ho. I’m rolling in the aisles. Oh Please Do Stop My Ribs Are Killing Me.
This whole joke falls even flatter when the fat man in question is as funny, as attractive, and as successful as John Candy. Nobody outside The Dream Factory ever cared about the man’s girth - take it from me, funny beat handsome every time.
Candy plays a script writer who has a delirious fantasy about waking up inside the covers of his own soap and having to write his way back into the real world, which as a comedy premise isn’t bad. But using this plot device as an excuse for everyone to ham it up (and making that the central joke, along with the “see the fat guy drive a fast car” gag) doesn’t work because, in the end all we’re left with is bad acting.
Apart from Candy, Mariel Hemingway hangs about the film looking skeletal and hungry, Emma Samms fills out a series of Wonderbras, Raymond Burr appears to spend every frame wishing he’d never left his wheelchair and Robert Wagner looks glad he’s only walking on.
All of which makes this film - unless you want a perfect example of How Not Make A Funny Movie - one to miss.