Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Mistaken identity.

Blogging from A to Z Challenge

Theme: Humor in film -- what makes me laugh:

Mistaken identity.

Years ago when I was young and single, I was at an intersection when I saw a familiar Jeep turn onto a busy street. I could have sworn it was a friend from my home town, so I followed in hot pursuit, honking and flashing my headlights. The guy finally pulled over and I pulled up behind him, parked and got out of my car. As soon as he exited the vehicle I realized he was a stranger.

I apologized, "Sorry! I thought you were my friend, Howie!"

He kept advancing until he was uncomfortably close and responded, "I'll be whoever you want me to be, baby."

I scrambled back into my Mustang and he returned to his Jeep. I can find the humor in it, now.

Mistaken identities in films can make me laugh.

When Buddy (Will Ferrell), an elf from the North Pole, shows up at his father's work, he is mistaken for someone delivering a singing Christmas-gram. It's a funny awkward situation, too, as he's requested to sing his message and tries to explain through song that he is Walter's (James Caan) son!

Elf (2003)
Movieclips: Elf - Buddy Meets His Dad

In my essay about Oscar (1991) I wrote...

“Snaps” Provolone convinces Anthony (Vincent Spano) that the Finucci brothers (Harry Shearer and Martin Ferrero) are “vicious contract killers” when they are actually easy-going tailors. Anthony plays a tune on the piano and soon the Finuccis join him. Panicked, he asks them what they want. They ask him to please tell “Signor Provolone” that they are in a hurry, they “gotta do another guy at 11:00.” Anthony assumes, of course, that they are talking about killing someone when they are actually talking about fitting someone for a suit. Anthony asks, “You do more than one a day?” They assure him that sometimes they do six to eight a day, “It’s a cutthroat business.” With pride, they show him a newspaper clipping of a murdered man. The intent is to show off the wonderful suit—their work of art—that the deceased is wearing. Anthony assumes they are showing off their contract job. The Finuccis continue, “Maybe someday we do you too, huh? And when we get through with you nobody gonna recognize you.” 

(That mistaken identity scene plays at approximately 2:52 through 3:57 in this clip.)

Here's a favorite scene from ¡Three Amigos! (1986). Men in a saloon have been warned that vicious gunmen will be arriving. When the Three Amigos--Hollywood film stars--enter, the men assume they are the gunmen and apprehensively watch them perform a song and dance.

Movieclips: Three Amigos - My Little Buttercup

Do you have a funny mistaken-identity story to share? Or a favorite one from a movie?


  1. Have you ever seen the movie "The Tall Blond Man With One Black Shoe"? This musician becomes the target of two factions of the French secret service because they think he's a spy. They did a remake with Tom Hanks as "The Man with One Red Shoe." That's the only one I can think of...

  2. I'm unfamiliar with The Tall Blond Man With One Black Shoe, but I saw The Man With One Red Shoe years ago... I had forgotten all about that one.

  3. I thought of "Desperately Seeking Susan" where a woman, Roberta, is afflicted with amnesia and then believes she is someone named Susan. Rosanna Arquette and Madonna were both good in this fun film.

  4. @Sue ... Somehow I missed seeing the movie "Desperately Seeking Susan". That sounds like a great mistaken identity film. I'll be on the watch for it.