Tom Winters, a widower, is trying to understand and raise three precocious children alone. He gets a little unexpected help from Cinzia, when the children decide she is be the new maid. She is actually an Italian socialite who is trying to get away from her overprotective father. Written by
Brian W Martz <B.Martz@Genie.com>
Cozy romp with some surprising emotional resonance
At first glance, "Houseboat" looks like the worst type of sitcom: stern father gets saddled with his estranged children, later hiring a governess who is really a runaway from high society. Saccharin-prone viewers might bail early, but give it time. Cary Grant plays the dad with an amusing mixture of concern, consternation and suspicion; he enjoys a good time, but he goads his kids into being more than what he sees, and when his son pushes back it seems an exceptionally realistic reaction. As for Sophia Loren, basking in her movie-star close-ups, she takes a cartoonish character (which is written like a cynical refugee from "Roman Holiday") and gives the lady a big heart. Her bonding with the children (and with Grant) is a treat, and while I wasn't quite convinced it would all work out happily, I was genuinely entertained. A surprising jewel. *** from ****
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