Beverly Hills couple Barbara and Dave Whiteman are very rich but not happy Dave is a hard working business man, his wife is only interested in yoga, aerobics and other meditation classes, ... See full summary »
When her husband dies in the wedding night Judy decides to join the army. What looks like a bad decision at first, turns out not so bad at all. That is, until her superior makes sexual advances. She is transferred to NATO headquarters in Europe and (re)meets the Frenchman Henri. Judy and Henri decide to marry, but will they ? Written by
Berend Meijer <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The service comedy is a genre almost as old as cinema itself and, whether it's Charlie Chaplin or Victor McLaglen and Edmund Lowe in the trenches, Andy Griffith befuddling his sergeants, the Carry On team on the assault course or Steve Guttenberg and co at the Police Academy, has an almost immutable formula that is never, ever departed from: through mildly comic misadventure misfit(s) find themselves in the army/navy/air force/police force, are hopelessly unprepared for the harsh realities of basic training, fumble every task yet somehow come out of it all as the perfect soldier/sailor/airman/cop and prove themselves in a mildly comic baptism of fire. Private Benjamin does absolutely nothing to fix what ain't broke, contenting itself to offer the odd slight tweak and flavoring with a mild dose of Jewish humor as Goldie Hawn's sheltered princess finds herself talked into joining the 'new' army by Harry Dean Stanton's smooth-talking recruiting sergeant after husband Albert Brooks dies in the throes of passion before the honeymoon even starts ("Do you remember what the last thing he said was?"] asks his distraught mother, eliciting the reply "I'm coming.").
While it's a given that there are no surprises whatsoever, it's one of those comedies that manages to be pretty consistently funny throughout even if there aren't many really big laughs out of sheer likability. Hawn's character is not too bright but not too Hilton with it her character arc is not just from dependence to self-reliance but more importantly from not being able to understand why Jill Clayburgh walked out on Alan Bates in An Unmarried Woman to being able to make the same choice herself, in the process tackling sexism rather more effectively than G.I. Jane did 17 years later. Eileen Brennan is clearly having a ball as the obligatory sadistic training officer out to make her life hell and there's a quietly impressive supporting cast filling out the ranks as well as a memorable Bill Conti score. It only really misses its step slightly in the scenes where her Monsieur Right (Armand Assante) rather clumsily turns out to be Monsieur Wrong at the end, as if afraid of losing the audience's sympathy long after she's won them over, but not enough to squander the goodwill it's earned by then.
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