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Bette is in the kitchen, very pleased with the way her pancakes have
come out. Suddenly, the doorbell. "Oooh," shrieks Betty, "I wonder who
that could be? It's too late for the garbage man."
It's her "friend" Irving, who plays one practical joke on her after, laughing hysterically while Betty gets shocked, squirted and scared and surprised. Finally, she snaps and goes upstairs to tell "Grampy." (I thought he lived in his own house?)
Anyway, she tells the old man how that idiot downstairs is annoying her when she's trying to bake. Grampy tells her to "send him to me." Grampy then puts on his thinking cap, waits until the light bulb goes how, and now knows how to handle "this practical joker."
How he does it is great. I just wish that part had been longer.
Although this is a nice cartoon I think it could have been a lot better.
Betty Boop (voice of Mae Questel) is baking in the kitchen when the
practical joking friend Irving comes along. He has a lot of irritating
practical jokes for Betty so she flees to Grampy. He thinks of a way to get
back at Irving. Betty asks Irving to bring a cake up to Grampy and the
practical joke contest can start.
There are some nice moments in this cartoon, but with a subject like practical jokes it could have been so much funnier. Irving really feels like an irritating person and that is a good thing. The way laughs looks pretty funny. Still, Grampy has some nice touches but there were a lot of missed opportunities here.
A good deal of the pre-Production Code Betty Boop cartoons are daring
and creative, with content that makes one amazed at what's gotten away
with. While the later Betty Boop cartoons made after the Code was
enforced are still watchable and exceptionally well-made, they are so
toned down that they feel bland.
Fleischer were responsible for some brilliant cartoons, some of them still among my favourites. Their visual style was often stunning and some of the most imaginative and ahead of its time in animation. The character of Betty Boop, one of their most famous and prolific characters, may not be for all tastes and sadly not as popular now, but her sex appeal was quite daring for the time and to me there is an adorable sensual charm about her.
She has not lost her charm and is fun to watch, even when toned down and with not a whole lot to do (much of her material is reacting to Irving's tricks).
Even though not as risqué, daring or surreal as the pre-Code cartoons and Irving (even when meant to be an irritating presence) occasionally gets on the wrong side of annoying, 'The Impractical Joker' while not a Betty Boop classic does fare favourably among the post-Production Code cartoons.
The animation is beautifully drawn and detailed and the music infectious, toe-tapping and dynamic. Adorable and hilarious Grampy once again steals the show, a riot of a character with imaginative and enormously fun inventions and easily one of the best Betty Boop supporting characters. The voice acting is well done.
Hilarious it mostly isn't, but 'The Impractical Joker' is very amusing often in Irving's tricks and especially everything involving Grampy so it's far from lacking in the laughs (or imagination for that matter) department.
All in all, fun later Betty Boop cartoon enlivened especially by Grampy. 8/10 Bethany Cox
Whenever I see that a Betty Boop cartoon features Grampy, I try to
watch. His character is one of the best from the Fleischer Brothers
Studio and he adds a certain level of weirdness to the cartoons that I
Betty is trying to do housework when he super-annoying cousin, Irving, drops by for a visit. Actually, he just dropped by to annoy EVERYONE and his jokes tend to be very mean and unrelenting. At her wits end, Betty asks Grampy if there's anything he can do to help and, as usual, Grampy uses his inventions to teach a jerk a lesson.
The best thing about this film is its frenetic pace. Some Betty Boop cartoons feature too much singing and too little plot--but here neither is an issue and the jokes come one after another after another. Add to that the typical wonderful Fleischer animation and you have more than enough reason to watch this film.
The Impractical Joker (1937)
** 1/2 (out of 4)
Betty Boop is at home baking a cake when the annoying Irving shows up and begins playing some practical jokes on her. She finally goes over the edge and tells Grampy who agrees to give Irving some of his own medicine. THE IMPRACTICAL JOKER is another decent entry in the later day Betty Boop films. There's no question that this one here falls far from being a "classic" but fans of the series should at least get a few laughs out of it. The highlights are certainly Irving playing the tricks on Betty and one will especially get a kick out of her reactions. The scenes where she gets scared are pretty funny as well as another sequence where she finally starts to pull her hair out. Once Grampy enters the film things stay at a pretty fast pace as he makes sure to one up Irving no matter what. As normal, the animation is quite good throughout and as always there's a good touch of imagination going on.
This Betty Boop is memorable largely because of Grampy. The character Irving is like fingernails on a chalkboard and Betty isn't on-screen much at all here. As far as I'm concerned, Irving gets off easy. Cartoon Network runs this on Late Night Black and White periodically. Worth seeing at least once.
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