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When practicing for a role, actor Jack is mistaken for the killer Ace. He doesn't realize this until it's too late and is carried off to gangster boss Leo Smooth, who wants Ace to do a job for him. Fearing for his life, Jack plays his role, but always searching for a way out of the well-guarded house. Written by
Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>
I came across this one while organizing videos my family had taped-I was about to take it out when this started playing. I figured I'd watch a few minutes, see what it was all about, and finish labeling the tapes. Long story short, the project was set aside for another day, and "Never a Dull Moment" became a family favorite! This is a Disney movie from the '60's, and as such represents some of Disney's best, before the days of formulaic family movies. It's not really aimed at children; the story is dialogue-driven, and the lead character's predicament is presented through dramatic irony. Younger viewers may not get it. That all makes it sound heavy, but it's actually incredibly funny. Three major aspects of comedy: physical/slapstick, situational, and verbal. All three are present and woven together in a way that certainly held my attention. I can't speak for everyone, but the title rings true for me, over and over!
The acting is solid all around. Dick Van Dyke steals the show as Jack Albany, an actor mistaken for renowned hit man Ace Williams (played by Jack Elam). Van Dyke is at his comedic best. Presumptious Florian (Tony Bill), having never seen Ace, makes the mistake, forcing Jack into a situation where his survival depends on his acting. On some level this movie pokes fun at the typical mob story. You have the boss, the tough guy, the inept guy, the pro pickpocket, the driver, the dumb broad, and the kid. The actors play their stereotyped parts well, highlights being Tony Bill and Joanna Moore. This may be the best role Tony Bill ever played-his other roles just seem flat in comparison to this punk, who changes from a creepy armed henchman to a whining, flinching doormat depending on how much trouble he's in. Bill has, however, become a successful producer/director. Edward G. Robinson seems to relish playing Joe Smooth, a powerful, art-loving mob boss who may be losing it a bit mentally. Dorothy Provine is good, also, as Smooth's art teacher, but my biggest beef with the movie is the part of the script where she explains her connection to the boss. It works, but it could have been better.
Overall I recommend this movie. It's no cinematic triumph, but it is good, clean fun, and it is very funny! Most parents are probably aware, but for those that aren't, the ratings system has changed since the '60's. This one was G in that time period, when smoking was commonplace and violence in the movies wasn't the issue that it is in the 21st century. Not that one era is better than another (I honestly can't fathom why Ice Age and Over the Hedge are PG movies), but this one has some PG material by today's standards. An engaging story with lots of laughs!
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
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