The wealthy Van Dyke family are constantly in the media for outrageous behavior, much to the frustration of patriarch Dan Van Dyke. His self-centered, bubble-headed wife has a fondness for ...
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The wealthy Van Dyke family are constantly in the media for outrageous behavior, much to the frustration of patriarch Dan Van Dyke. His self-centered, bubble-headed wife has a fondness for foreign imports, including "pet projects" like dancers and such. His spoiled children Tony and Carol have constant run-ins with the law. When Dan himself ends up in the clink for five years for tax evasion, he becomes bunk-mates with ex-bootlegger Joe "Spots" Ricardi. Ricardi lectures him on being such a push-over for an out-of-control family, so a dying Dan makes Ricardi his estate trustee once he is released from prison. Ricardi is thrust into high society and must do everything he once nagged Dan to do in order to bring the unruly brats under control. This is even more difficult than it seems as Carol defies him at every turn, and his old gang is trying to get him back in the business. Written by
She couldn't Take It is a sluggish screwball displaying the fair comic talent of Joan Bennett and the bad timing of George Raft. It has a nice Paramount gloss but is vapid in comparison to the sharper play of Loy and Powell, Lombard and Barrymore.
The Van Dykes are the Kardashians of their time, tawdry upper crusts with media's nose up it's anus. Patriarch Daniel Van Dyke has had enough of his kids' and wife's front page shenanigans but ends up in prison doing time where he is befriended by mobster Mo Ricardi (Raft). When Dan Van Dyke is facing his maker in prison he appoints Ricardi the trustee of his vast fortune. Tough love ensues.
Bennet is a fine actress (Scarlet St.) but she is no Lombard in this and Raft looking sharper than anyone of his day about to sabotage his career is as stiff as four day road kill as the questionable Italian slur.
It is left up to a stalwart supporting guest of a touching Walter Connaly the birdbrained but always charming Billie Burke, a pompous ass thespian played by Alan Mowbray and tragicomic turn from Wallace Ford that is disturbing to screwball.
Tay Garnet's direction lags and the film trades along with with little to no comic or romantic punch. Stars that Bennet and Raft might be of the time She Couldn't Take It remains minor league screwball.
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