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Businessman Paul Bultitude is sending his son Dick to a boarding school. While holding a magic stone from India, he wishes that he could be young again. His wish is immediately fulfilled and the two change bodies with each other. Mr Bultitude becomes a school boy who smokes cigars and has a very conservative view on child upbringing, while his son Dick becomes a gentleman who spends his time drinking lemonade and arranging children's parties. Written by
Another identity exchange farce...directed by Peter Ustinov...
In the tradition of films like TURNABOUT and FREAKY Friday, VICE VERSA attaches the theme to a couple of males this time, in a British comedy written and directed by Peter Ustinov that tries too hard to be clever, but succeeds, instead, in being exceedingly foolish.
ANTHONY NEWLEY is a Victorian schoolboy who trades places with his stuffy British father by wishing on a magic stone from India. Newley brings his father's knowledge and stuffiness to the school that he returns to, much to the bewilderment of his classmates and professors. The father, ROGER LIVESEY, adopts childish preferences rather than smoking his favored cigars and confounds his household servants.
You have to be a fan of overly broad, non-subtle British humor to fully enjoy this comedy. Most of it is beyond silly, however delightful the performances are. Especially absurd is the confrontation of battle swords in a duel over a young woman, played for zany humor but somehow missing the mark.
None of it can be taken seriously, so your enjoyment of the story will depend entirely on whether or not you favor this sort of humor. Newley does a decent enough job as the young boy and Livesey seems to be enjoying himself in a comic role, looking and sounding an awful lot like Nigel Bruce behind his scruffy mustache.
Anyone with a sharp eye will notice that so many of the story ingredients are used in FREAKY Friday, but American style.
Too overdone for my taste.
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