By Chris Willman
Updated October 26, 2005 at 04:00 AM EDT

When I interviewed Jerry Lewis 20 years ago, the first word out of his mouth was ”Christ” (followed by ”I need a nap”). So I figured the test of whether Dean & Me captured his voice (or co-writer James Kaplan’s) would be how often the Lord’s name was taken in vain. Verdict: It’s Jerry’s. Any reverence is reserved for Dean Martin, with whom the comic enjoyed a 1946-56 run that still inspires awe, though Lewis is the first to declare that their movies blew. This is a ”love story” between mid-century manly men — meaning conflicts went unspoken — about and a half century of reflection still doesn’t turn up startling reasons for the breakup, except that Lewis looked up to Martin as a big brother, only to have Martin finally declare: ”To me, you’re nothin’ but a f—in’ dollar sign.” Not exactly cuddly himself, Lewis does convey the feelings of one lonely entertainer silently pining for approval from another. And his nostalgic evocation of nightclub entertainment’s golden age (seven shows a night! No one blinking at a 2:30 a.m. showtime!) might make you want to jealously kick in your TV.