Where Does it Hurt?
American hospital administrator, Albert T. Hopfnagel (Peter Sellers), runs his place of work with a shrewd mind, a sly demeanor, and a sky-high profit. But not only that though, oh no, he also manages to goad and coarse whomever is in his sight – nurses, doctors, and patients alike – just like an organ grinder orchestrating their monkey.
Now a good example of this would be when an unemployed and recently divorced simpleton, Lester Hammond Rick Lenz) comes to Albert’s hospital concerned with a slight back twinge. You see, the doctors, the nurses, and the specialist, all cart Lester through a series of unneeded check-ups, trying their best to keep him within their care, just so that Lester can pay though the teach for this ‘privilege’. Moreover, they also take out his prostrate too – an unnecessary procedure that they try to cover up with garbled rhetoric and lofty remarks.
Thankfully, over time, Lester comes to realize the true nature behind Albert's shoddy ploy, and he tells the Hospital Commissioner about this. Unfortunately, though, the Commissioner cannot do anything with any proof.
So what does Lester do next? Correct – finds the proof.
Still, through his own devious ways and means, Albert figures out what Lester is up to, and he hides his tracks by bribing, blackmailing, and cajoling both doctors and nurses – which ultimately results in him buying off Lester with a medical policy.
So it all works out A1 for Albert – or does it?
No, the doctors on the board are none too happy with Albert’s shenanigans, and they fire him – kind of – leading Albert once again to get out of trouble any which way he can – although receptionist, Alice Gilligan (Jo Ann Pflug), and blood clinician, Nishimoto (Pat Morita),try to bar his path.
But wait one minute – Lester has another plan!
Well, that is why what next transpires is jovial, lyrical, shred game of doctors and nurses, and entails a mariachi band. As nurses fight – doctors celebrate – Commissioner’s strike – patients are shown the knife – and Albert... hmmm... not telling... as it may hurt.
Now in my most humble opinion, 'Where Does It Hurt' is a film with one simple ailment – it is an American film that should have been made in England. However, to counteract this statement completely, it is a film with a very British core, whilst at the same time dealing with an issue that is largely American based.
Well, you see, what I mean by this, is that in Britain, there is the National Health Service, so ‘paying for care’ is perceived as being a privileged thing to do. Where as in America this is part of the norm, and is a system in place that has been accepted for quite some time now (kind of accepted).
OK, so why did I say that this American film has ‘a very British core’ then? Well, personally speaking of course, I found that the way in which the initial pretext of this movie – of a profiteering hospital – handles this ‘issue’, is by taking the piss out of this ideology too the extreme. For example: (1) The British comedic actor, Peters Sellers, having that slightly aloof demeanor within scenes, although he is playing his part like an American used car salesman. (2) The way that the double entendres, the rascal slurs, and the overall farcical structure of this film seems to quip and parry in that very congenial ‘carry on’ type way. And (3) Plus lets not forget that the director of this film – Rodney Amateu – adapted this film from a book he that wrote, as well as coming from a television background that was primarily influenced on subsequent European flair (i.e. 'The Phil Silvers Show' and 'Faulty Towers')
Still, taking all of this into consideration, is 'Where Does It Hurt?' any good or what? Well, I kind of dug it - as it has that seventies vibe, farcical narrative, satirical tone, and all in all is a very fun film to watch. Moreover, I just found that Peter stole the show really, as whenever he was on screen you wanted more. And whenever was not, you wanted to know where he was – it’s that type of a film. Plus, in places, there are a number of moment’s which can make you blush – such as the racism and sexism exhibited in this film. But by in large it is just fun-fun-fun, primarily down to loon who was a goon, Peter Sellers. Also, it is not as polished or stylized as I would have hoped it would be – and I swear that Pat Morita is being dubbed – though it is still very watch able.
Ultimately, this is a film of its time, but with a message that is still very relevant today. Well, are all American doctors money grabbing b*stards? I hope not. Just as I hope that any fan of Peter Sellers or Anglo-American farces – such as 'Whoops Apocalypse' – would give this film a shot.
Not a shot of drugs, but a shot of kindness.
THE RATING: B+