Movie review of Laurel and Hardy’s Me and My Pal (1933) starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, James Finlayson
Me and My Pal, like many of Laurel and Hardy’s best short films, works on one central joke and slowly build up the comedy to a crescendo. In Me and My Pal, the central joke is, of all things, a jigsaw puzzle. The basic premise is that Oliver Hardy is about to be married to an oil tycoon’s daughter, which will lead to his own business success and security. Stan Laurel is going to be Oliver’s best man, and arrives, having made all of the “necessary” arrangements – he has the ring and bought the tickets for Oliver and his bride to go on their honeymoon. However, the tickets are to the wrong city. In addition, he’s brought a bag of rice, which promptly gets spilled all over Oliver’s floor, and a wedding gift as well – a jigsaw puzzle.
As Oliver tries to leave for his wedding, he gets pulled into working on the jigsaw puzzle with Stan – until the cab arrives. When the cab driver comes upstairs to get Oliver’s bags, he starts playing with the puzzle as well – as does Oliver’s butler. Later, a police officer writes the taxi a ticket for parking by a fire hydrant, and he gets caught up in the puzzle as well. Along the way, Oliver tries multiple times to leave for the wedding, only to be frustrated time and again.
Eventually, his future father-in-law, Peter Cucumber (played by Laurel and Hardy regular James Finlayson) finally arrives to see what the problem is, only to inadvertently start a fight, causing everyone to get arrested. Except for Laurel and Hardy, who managed to hide. It’s a wonderful visual joke, as Oliver climbs down from the chimney, covered in soot, finally having enough and throwing Stan out. After realizing that Stan failed to read him a telegram from his stock broker, causing him to lose all of his money. The short film ends with poor Oliver breaking down and throwing jigsaw puzzle pieces around his ruined apartment.
Me and My Pal is a funny, short (18 minutes) Laurel and Hardy film. Had it been any longer, I don’t think that the jigsaw puzzle gag could have held the audience’s interest, but as it was it played well. I rate it 3 clowns out of 5.
Funny movie quotes from Laurel and Hardy’s Me and My Pal
Oliver (Oliver Hardy): You know what a magnate is, don’t you?
Stanley (Stan Laurel): Sure, it’s a thing that eats cheese.
Oliver (Oliver Hardy): Now why did you get two tickets to Chicago when you know that I wanted to spend my honeymoon in Saskatchewan.
Stanley (Stan Laurel): Well the man said there was no such place as sus – -Swee – Sas …
[learning that Mr. Cucumber is on the phone]
Oliver (Oliver Hardy): [to Stanley] You talk to him. Tell him I left 10 minutes ago. Go ahead!
Stanley (Stan Laurel): [goes to phone where Mr. Cucumber is angry] Hello?
Peter Cucumber (James Finlayson): Did you know you’re holding up this wedding? Keeping my daughter engaged for over half an hour? Where is Mr. Hardy?
Stanley (Stan Laurel): He’s right here. And he told me to tell you that we just left; 10 minutes ago.
Peter Cucumber (James Finlayson): [makes his weird eye expression] Da-oh.
Oliver (Oliver Hardy): [doorbell rings; to Hives] See who that is.
Hives, the butler: [to telegram messenger] See who that is.
Telegram messenger: [to policeman] See who that is.
Policeman: [to cabdriver] See who that is.
Cabdriver: [to Stan] See who that is.
Stanley (Stan Laurel): [to Oliver] See who it is.
Oliver (Oliver Hardy): [doorbell rings again] Come in!
Oliver (Oliver Hardy): [shoving Stan] This is all your fault, bringing the jigsaw puzzle here in the first place.
Policeman: There’s a piece missing out of that puzzle and nobody leaves this place ’til we find it.
Peter Cucumber (James Finlayson): What has that got to do with me?
Policeman: You’re going to be searched.
Oliver (Oliver Hardy): You don’t understand, sir, that’s Mr. Peter Cucumber. The big oil magnate.
Policeman: I don’t care if he’s Mr. Dill Pickle, he’s going to be searched!
Peter Cucumber (James Finlayson): [taking the IN MEMORY wreath] I just might have some use for this.
Peter Cucumber (James Finlayson): What are you out to do, make me out a bigger fool than I look? Er, than I am?