At No. 22 on the AFI top 100, Some Like it Hot is the highest ranking comedy on the list. This means a couple of things. One, I should not expect to laugh as I complete the remaining 21 films on the list. Two, the sense of humor of the AFI voters leaves something to be desired. This film is the classic case of a film that has a funny premise but does not deliver on the promise. Sure, it’s funny to see Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis dressed like women. Yes, Marilyn Monroe plays her ditzy blonde for a few laughs. And sure, the funniest line in the film is saved for the end as goofy Osgood Fielding delivers a deadpan “nobody’s perfect” upon finding out that the “woman” of his dreams is in fact a man in drag. But over all the film isn’t that funny. In fact, it’s rather ridiculous.
In 2000 the AFI put out its list of the 100 funniest films of all time and Some Like it Hot was number one. But just a quick look through the top 10 provides nine films that are much funnier than Some Like It Hot, including the likes of Tootsie, MASH, Annie Hall, Dr. Strangelove, Airplane, Blazing Saddles and Duck Soup to name a few. Some Like it Hot would barely crack the top 100 of my list. I’d say the AFI has a blind spot for modern comedies, but their top 100 included newer films like Groundhog Day, Big, Diner, Bull Durham and Caddyshack. All, by the way, much funnier than Some Like it Hot.
Look, don’t get me wrong. It’s a nice little film with some great performances by Lemmon and Curtis — especially Lemmon who was nominated for an Oscar. But it’s just not that funny. You want funny? Watch American Pie, The Wedding Crashers or Borat!