Charley Chase's great comedy shorts often centered around an embarrassing situation that befalls Charley, and the ever more humiliating complications that result when he tries politely to salvage his way out of it. "Mr. Bride" features possibly one of his very most embarrassing situations, as Charley is stuck with a borderline-insane boss who has decided to force Charley to rehearse a honeymoon with him (though he hasn't yet proposed) with Charley in character as his bride.
The gags that follow from this are quite good, with people registering shock and derision in different ways as politeness forces most of them to accept Charley as a woman because they have been told he is. However, the boss' idea just seems so nonsensical that the beautiful illogic- logic of the comedy in some of Chase's best shorts is missing the "logic" element. The comedy is still funny, but it's missing even the cracked sense that would make it better.
There's also the slight handicap that in a situation like this - where Charley is just clearly not female -- he can't really act much on his surroundings. Instead of mustering all his manners and trying to play it off as if he's still a perfect gentleman who can explain everything, Charley can only whimper about his plight. It's not as good, but fortunately he's a skilled enough comedy performer that he pulls it off.
There's some pretty obvious subtext (or maybe even just text) here about people's reactions to apparent homosexuality, and that plays a little differently now than it would have in 1932, but in either year that vein of comedy is on a constant note throughout this film. It will either make you laugh every time that man is being treated like another man's wife, or it won't.
There is a cute wrap-up that gets Charley engaged to Muriel Evans, which is nice, but the very final gag seems to come out of nowhere.
"Mr. Bride" is certainly flawed compared with many of Charley Chase's best shorts, but his strengths applied to the material still make it quite a funny piece.
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