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Biff Jones is a driver/salesman for the Good Humor ice-cream company. He hopes to marry his girl Margie, who works as a secretary for Stuart Nagel, an insurance investigator. Margie won't marry Biff, though, because she is the sole support of her kid brother, Johnny. Biff gets involved with Bonnie, a young woman he tries to rescue from gangsters. But Biff's attempts to help her only get him accused of murder. When the police refuse to believe his story, it's up to Biff and Johnny to prove Biff's innocence and solve the crime. Written by
Jim Beaver <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I love it when human Popsicle Jack Carson goes floating down the gutter into a storm drain, only to be rescued at the last moment. The gags fly fast and furious in this cockamamie send-up of the friendly neighborhood ice-cream man. I guess some such is to be expected from scripter Frank Tashlin, who never gave up his love affair with cartoons or the comic book. The gags are nothing if not inventive, from the opening sound effect to the closing school house free-for-all. Just count the how many times Carson gets to mug-up the outrageous happenings-- I doubt if there's a number big enough.
This is a Carson showcase. Too bad this wonderfully versatile performer never received the recognition his prodigious talent deserved. Here, his man-boy good-humor man never annoys, unlike, say, a Jerry Lewis, who whined his way through a number of similar roles for Tashlin. I hope Carson got extra pay for all the physical contortions Tashlin and director Bacon put him through. Speaking of stunts, the luscious Lola Albright (the real Mrs. Carson) does her share, a decade before smouldering across the TV screen as Peter Gunn's torch-singing lady love.
Note the clever touch with the plug-ugly newlyweds, a subject usually sentimentalized to a nauseating degree by Hollywood. None of that here. The bride may be a groom's nightmare, but she's an optometrist's dream. Here the screenplay had to tread lightly around the comedic potential of a near-sighted bride, still the edgy humor shines through. Still and all, I wonder how the same potential would be treated by today's no-holds-barred cinema.
There were a number of these occupation-based slapsticks produced around this time-- Fuller Brush Man (Red Skelton), Fuller Brush Girl (Lucille Ball), Kill the Umpire (Bill Bendix) et al. None, however, are any funnier than this. My one complaint-- the schoolhouse slapstick goes on too long. It's as if Tashlin can't turn off the inventive engine once its started. But knowing when to stop can be as important as knowing how to start. Nonetheless, this remains a lively and chuckle-filled 80 minutes, and a lasting tribute to that under-rated performer Jack Carson, along with the wonderfully inventive Frank Tashlin.
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