I just finally finished watching this film. Before viewing it I had heard it was considered Mel Brooks' worst movie and that it was more of a serious film in comparison to his older work. I thought maybe it got a bad rap because being serious it was not what people were expecting from a Mel Brooks film at the time, and I enjoy seeing filmmakers break their usual territory in branching out to try something different. Also this was Mel Brooks' first film in four years after Spaceballs which had developed a massive cult following by that time, so I am sure audiences were expecting comedy gold yet again from Brooks'. While the film does have its heart in the right place, as well as some nice performances and a few scattered chuckles, this is one of Brooks' weakest moments. The problem is he doesn't seem to know whether or not he wants to make this a comedy or a drama so he tries to incorporate elements of both and it doesn't work. Mel Brooks' is universally known as a comedic director, but if he wanted to take a more serious approach in directing, he should have focused on the film being a drama entirely and getting someone else other than himself to play the lead role. I mean who could really take Mel Brooks seriously as a dramatic actor? The film does have its merits and I guess Brooks is trying to give his audience a message, that there are always people who have it worse than we do, and that we need to pay more attention to the homeless people on the street because they aren't begging for what we think they might be, they really need help, but what is funny about that when it's all said and done? Granted the film does have a few laughs, very little of them come from Brooks' signature parody- style comedy, but I laughed maybe about five times, which is really unusual for a Mel Brooks' film which have reputations for being laugh out loud all the way through. Leslie Ann Warren provides some nice comic support to Brooks' here and makes the film at least watchable, several other actors playing the homeless also keep the film afloat. Jeffery Tambor is Brooks' rival and ultimate nemesis here. He is given very little to do, and his role is predictable, clichéd and unconvincing for a comedy villain. And then the film just gets downright annoying at the end with Brooks' recycling old jokes from earlier in the film, that weren't really even that funny the first time. Mel Brooks is a director similar to Francis Ford Coppola only in the sense that both men had their greatest successes in the 1970's and their work going into the 1980's and 90's was either hit and miss or just misses all the way around. The unbalance between comedy and drama is what makes this film a weak Brooks' outing. Francis Ford Coppola had the same problem with Jack starring Robin Williams in that the film didn't know if it wanted to be funny or serious. With the release of Airplane! in 1980 directed by Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, and Jerry Zucker those guys quickly became originals in the film parody world, and subsequent Brooks' efforts were decent at best, and forgettable or just plain bad at worst. Those guys really brought Mel Brooks' to a rapid decline in his work, and this film is proof of that. And it's sad, though not hard to see why Brooks only directed two more films after this before taking a step away from the director's chair for good. This is not entirely a bad film, though it's a real missed effort for something that could have been a sure-fire hit. Brooks could have revived himself as a serious filmmaker if only he would have focused more on telling his story that way. By having the unbalance here, it ruined his directing career for good. Fortunately we have many classics of the late 60's and 70's that show Brooks' genius and his legacy will live on forever in those.