We’re No Angels possesses perhaps the dryest humor of any movie I’ve ever seen. The film stars Humphrey Bogart as Joseph, Aldo Ray as Albert and Peter Ustinov as Jules escaped criminals from Devil’s Island prison and passing themselves off as convict workers until they escape from the island onto a passing ship. In an effort to hide themselves they work for an inept storekeeper and his family. For some unknown reason they take a shine to the family and help them through both their financial and personal problems. They are aided in their efforts by their companion Adolphe, a small Eastern Coral Snake kept as a pet by Albert.
It’s hard to describe the humor in this movie. The film is willing to take its time to build up to a punch line that produces not a guffaw, but a snicker. I could tell you that one of the funniest lines in the movies is when Humphrey Bogart returns to the other two convicts, sits down and dead pans, “He knows already.” But without the buildup to the situation it doesn’t sound funny, and if I tried to describe the joke, it would fall completely flat. What makes the joke work is the slow build up and the dead pan delivery.
We’re No Angels is not a fall on the floor laughing movie. It’s a slight chuckle here and a smirk there type of movie that will make you feel good, without insulting your intelligence.