While I do like this film as a guilty pleasure, I have to be critical and objective and come clean: World's Greatest Lover is an uneven, undercooked and juvenile comedy that sums up the excesses of 70s comedies. The plot, in short, is about a neurotic baker who goes with his wife to Hollywood to screen test for a new film. However, his wife is obsessed with star Rudolph Valentino, and decides to chase after him, and well, mishaps ensue with plenty of slapstick and awkward situations.
The production values and score by underrated master John Morris (a Brooks regular, as well as Elephant Man) deliver, recreating the 'Old Hollywood' feel of the 1920s, and the actors are never awful or bored, with Dom Deluise in fine form as the cartoonish studio boss, but the humour is what makes the film so hard to recommend: it follows an underbaked (and these days, overused) formula of slapstick, awkward situations and plenty of shouting and eye-bogging from Gene. Rise and repeat for an hour an a half, and that's the film. Gene Wilder has no control (he wrote, starred, directed and produced this) and without the steady hand of someone like Mel Brooks, he goes way past over-the-top and almost like someone parodying Wilder, screaming like a banshee every couple of seconds. Though his opening dance number is fun, and probably the highlight.
It's worth owning if you're a hardcore fan of Wilder or wacky comedies, and it's taken a LONG time for this to finally recieve a DVD release of any sort, but, aside from aficionados, you're better off with Young Frankenstein or Blazing Saddles.