This has been a season for melancholy comparisons between greater and lesser degrees of garbage. Last week I discovered that "Amityville II: The Possession" was just marginally better than "The Amityville Horror" (although both were abominations). This week, the news is not any better: "Jekyll & Hyde... Together Again" is not quite as good as "Young Doctors in Love" (although both fall out of bed with a dull thud).
They're both hospital comedies. They both begin with a botched operation by an egotistical surgeon. They both have inflatable-women jokes. (This time, a patient's breasts are balloons; last time, she thought she was pregnant.) They both have sexy nurses in low-cut surgical gowns, rich patients who are shockingly treated and heroes who surround themselves with chaos.
"Jekyll & Hyde" has other predecessors, of course. The credits say the movie was "inspired by the Robert Louis Stevenson novel," which is a little like saying "Fantasy Island" was inspired by Robinson Crusoe. The press releases have the chutzpah to actually print the following sentence: "Mark Blankfield (of ABC's 'Fridays' fame) follows movie greats John Barrymore, Fredric March and Spencer Tracy in assuming the title roles."
But the real inspiration for "Jekyll & Hyde," I think, comes from the Cheech and Chong drug-caper comedies, in which nice guys turn into manic zombies and terrorize the neighborhood. "Jekyll" is about a young scientist's search for a drug that will bring perfect happiness. He tries formula after formula to no avail, until he falls asleep before he can test a new white powder. He inhales a drinking straw, turns his head, and vacuums the powder into his nose. Zowie! He's transformed into a disco king.