Clay Spencer is a hard-working man who loves his wife and large family. He is respected by his neighbors and always ready to give them a helping hand. Although not a churchgoer, he even ... See full summary »
St. Louis based banker Roger Hobbs is writing a letter to his wife, Peggy Hobbs, about his true feelings concerning their just returned from month long vacation, the letter to be opened only after his death, whenever that may be. Mr. Hobbs wanted the vacation to be a romantic getaway for two, but Peggy insisted that it be a family vacation to a central California beach-side house, given to them for the month by friends. The vacation included all their offspring, and their offspring's respective families where applicable. Hobbs hated the idea as he felt he didn't know his offspring - and their spouses even less - and that they, in turn, no longer needed him. They include: daughter Susan Carver, who, with her husband, Stan Carver, have a permissive parenting style as per the latest child psychology books; daughter Janie Grant, whose husband, college professor, Byron Grant, has an academic view of everything in life; fourteen year old daughter, Katey Hobbs, who is self conscious around ... Written by
I think this highly entertaining film is a bit better than Maltin gives it credit for being. More than just a light comedy about the travails of a summer vacation gone wrong, the movie has some hard edges that give it some bite. Among these are the frayed relationships between Hobbs and his elder daughters, the marital difficulties of one of them (bordering almost on being painful to watch), and the mutually hostile relationship of Hobbs with his grandson. Hobbs is no kindly buffoon; a well-meaning but irascible fellow, he has plenty of cutting and sarcastic comments for the family members that cause him so much grief, yet who he obviously cares for. There are some genuinely touching moments throughout the film, especially as Hobbs reconnects with his teen son. The script is excellent, with many sharp edges and plenty of crackling repartee. Stewart, in a fine performance, makes the movie; his expressive face completely reflects the frustrations, disasters, and surprises he encounters, as well as the warmth and pride he feels for his family. The brief narrative voiceovers he supplies (continuations of the letter he dictates at the beginning of the whole flashback movie) are well-placed and witty. Maureen O'Hara is perfect as the well-meaning Mrs. Hobbs. This is a thoroughly enjoyable 60's movie that stands up well to the passing years.
37 of 49 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?