Starring Mel Brooks, Madeline Khan, Cloris Leachman, Rudy De Luca, Barry Levinson, Dick Van Patten, Harvey Korman, Ron Carey
Deft. Zany. Fun.
“It’s such a fine line between stupid and clever.” Nobody embodies this line from This is Spinal Tap more than Mel Brooks. High Anxiety reveals in its opening frame that it’s going to be spoofing Hitchcock. More than his other, similar comedies, your enjoyment of High Anxiety will likely depend on your familiarity with the movies being spoofed. Brooks plays Dr. Richard Thorndyke, a psychiatrist taking over the Psycho-Neurotic Institute for the Very, Very Nervous. Upon arrival, the Dr. finds a wealth of fishy goings-on, but he’ll have to overcome his own affliction, something called high anxiety (a lot like vertigo), to get to the bottom of things. Shamelessly silly, which I appreciate, and boasting a committed cast (Cloris Leachman shows a remarkable lack of vanity), High Anxiety is an enjoyable romp. Not as funny or memorable as Young Frankenstein, but funny and memorable nonetheless.
-Walter Tyrone Howard-