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This black comedy opens with Louisa Foster donating a multimillion dollar check to the IRS. The tax department thinks she's crazy and sends her to a psychiatrist. She then discusses her four marriages, in which all of her husbands became incredibly rich and died prematurely because of their drive to be rich. Written by
Daniel Bubbeo <firstname.lastname@example.org>
MacLaine gets a huge workout in this episodic comedy about a woman from humble beginnings who is satisfied with the smaller things in life, but who keeps marrying men who make a fortune and then die, leaving her a wealthy widow four times over! Each one of the marriages sees MacLaine experiencing a new level of frustration and enveloping herself in an increasingly over-the-top super-glam wardrobe. As she relates the marriages to the rather manipulative psychologist Cummings, each relationship is seen as if it were a certain movie genre. Van Dyke lives a simple existence as a small-time store owner and their sequence contains an old silent-movie vignette. Newman is an expatriate artist living in Paris, so theirs is a slightly naughty French art film. Mitchum is a businessman loaded with dough which lends itself to a parody of the fur-and-fashion Ross Hunter women's pictures. Then marriage to small town hoofer Kelly includes a big song and dance number out of a 1940's musical. Also on hand is loutish playboy Martin, who plays the man her mother (Dumont) wanted her to marry in the first place. MacLaine gives a worthy performance with lots of physical comedy and an impressive dance sequence. She's occasionally a little shrill, but that's the character. Van Dyke is solid, Newman is sexy (and shows more skin here - albeit G-rated - than in the bulk of his other movies), Mitchum is charming, Kelly is appropriately self-involved and Martin is his usual suave, laid-back self. All of the actors establish a nice chemistry with MacLaine (who lived many a gal's dream when she got to pair up with all the leading men of this film!) It's fun to see these actors hamming it up and having fun with their unusual roles. The real star, however, apart from MacLaine, is the eye-popping, jaw-dropping parade of costumes and wigs. Some are breathtakingly glamorous, some are atrociously eye-assaulting, but they really steal the show, especially during the Mitchum sequence. Edith Head clearly had a field day (but lost the Oscar to equally-gifted Cecil Beaton for his "My Fair Lady" gowns.) There are also some attention-getting set designs. It's the kind of frothy, harmless, yet beautiful film that rarely gets made today. Some modern movie-goers will note MacLaine's uncanny resemblance to Renee Zellweger at times in this film. She gave this type of frothy flick a go in "Down With Love", but no one came (of course, it wasn't as good, so it isn't surprising!) The pattern of the movie threatens to become tiresome, but the changes in stars and venues and the clever scripting of Comden and Green help keep it afloat.
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