The Mel Brooks Ridiculous Comedy Everyone Forgets, Stream Without Netflix

By Brian Myers | Published

Mel Brooks

Comedy icon Mel Brooks is better known for his work behind the camera and for penning screenplays than he is for his starring roles. But the man who brought the world raucous laughter with Young Frankenstein, Spaceballs, and The History of the World, Part 1 was the featured star in a 1991 comedy film that has sadly been forgotten by most movie audiences. Life Stinks was far from a box office hit, but the movie is still one of the entertainer’s movie gems that fans can now stream without a Netflix subscription.

The Premise

mel brooks

Life Stinks is the story of two wealthy real estate tycoons who make a bet to see who can gain control of a Los Angeles slum. Both Goddard Bolt (Mel Brooks) and Vance Crasswell (Jeffrey Tambor) have their eyes on the rundown area of the city in hopes that it can be torn down and redeveloped to suit their own financial gains.

Crasswell offers Bolt a bet–if Bolt lives in the slum penniless and without aid for 30 days, he will surrender his interest in the property to him.

A Steep Challenge

But the bet in Life Stinks will not be an easy one for Mel Brooks’ Bolt to win. Crasswell has three conditions that Bolt must follow entirely, or Bolt will forfeit his share.

Bolt cannot leave the boundaries of the slum and is fitted with an electronic ankle bracelet to track his movements. Bolt must also enter the slum with an empty wallet and is forbidden to tell anyone in the slum who he really is.

Bolt Is Up To The Challenge

Of course, Crasswell is a dirty player and sets up a series of terrible (and hilarious) obstacles that impede Bolt’s ability to stay his 30 days. But Life Stinks finds that Bolt is able to win the bet, as well as finding the love of a homeless woman named Molly along the way (Lesley Ann Warren).

Adding to Mel Brooks’ character is that he now sees homeless persons as actual people and emerges from his 30-day bet a new and improved man.

What Goes Around Comes Around

But Crasswell isn’t going down so easily. Unbeknownst to Bolt, Crasswell has bribed Bolt’s lawyers into declaring the man legally insane and costing him his share in the property as well as his entire fortune. But in typical Mel Brooks fashion, Life Stinks shows the calculated revenge that Bolt takes on his arch enemy in a hilarious climax.

Stream It Now


Life Stinks has the slapstick elements of many of Mel Brooks other films but also packs in a pretty solid moral lesson about how to become a better human being.

While the storyline is a bit contrived, the one-liners are hilarious and the antics of the fellow homeless people that Bolt meets during his stay on the streets are great comedy.

Jeffrey Tambor deserves a mention for his portrayal of Crasswell. He plays a character you’ll love to hate as much as you’ll love Mel Brooks in Life Stinks.

Life Stinks doesn’t hit the funny bone in the way that Young Frankenstein does, but still stands as a great entry in Mel Brooks’ long line of comedy films.

You can stream the Mel Brooks comedy Life Stinks for free on Tubi or rent it On Demand through Vudu, Google Play, AppleTV, and Prime.