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Lightweight Fare From A Successful Series.
rsoonsa16 August 2006
This piece is from a set of two-reel comedy shorts, the "Edgar Kennedy Series" produced during the 1940s, that American audiences found diverting, with Kennedy performing as Edgar, an average sort of fellow who is hampered by a giddy wife, Florence (Florence Lake), along with a waspish mother-in-law, neither of whom in any way assists in easing his ongoing difficulties with simple daily survival. In this episode, Edgar is in arrears to a fractious loan shark for $80, when fortunately a man looking for a vacant apartment in the building wherein the Kennedys reside offers exactly that amount for a one-month period, but this apparent windfall instead places Edgar in dire straits when the new resident utilizes the location to host a raucous party, and when Florence and her mother, supposedly away for a vacation for the month period, are forced to suddenly return home, poor Edgar's problems only worsen. While Edgar is attempting to eject his sub-tenant along with the latter's frolicking companions, local police are called to the loud party scene, and when Florence and her mother return to the apartment, it becomes obvious that whatever may happen next, it will be disastrous for Edgar who has additionally become saddled with the new renter's left-behind and coquettish wife, played by the vibrant Dorothy Grainger who steals the film. Pure farce, this brief work is composed largely of slapstick, and although Kennedy's renowned "slow burn" is not in evidence here, several comedic moments will cause a viewer to smile.
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This one took me by surprise!
MartinHafer27 June 2011
Warning: Spoilers
In the 1930s and 40s, Edgar Kennedy starred in a string of domestic short comedies for RKO. Oddly, however, it looked as if Kennedy had three separate families--as some had Florence Lake and her mother and brother, some had Vivian Oakland with no in-laws and a few has Sally Payne and her brother. All had the same theme music and were similar in most ways--though the Lake ones were the most common and annoying, as Lake's high-pitched voice and laugh were about as enjoyable as chewing glass! Sadly, "Rough on Rents" is one of the Lake comedies.

This one begins with Edgar losing a lot of money on a horse race. He gets the brilliant idea of taking in a border--but doesn't tell the wife! I guess he figures with her and her annoying in-laws going out of town they won't least for a while! Soon, the new tenant has a wild party and Edgar sits in on it. However, Florence and the other two jerks are coming back early--and he expects the new border and his friends to leave--but the guy has paid his rent. And, the friends become not particularly friendly when he suggests they go. However, eventually they leave and it looks like Edgar's gotten away with it...or does he?!

I was genuinely surprised by this film. Not only was it a decent plot, but Florence Lake actually kept her mouth relatively shut! Maybe the director or RKO execs finally decided to tone down her routine...all I know is that she's not, for a change, a detriment to a film!! Worth seeing.
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Be careful about who you sublease to!
mark.waltz18 February 2017
Warning: Spoilers
No sooner has he gotten rid of a nasty mother-in-law, a do nothing brother- in-law and his dizzy wife, hot tempered Edgar Kennedy subleases his apartment to two men who turn it into a party joint that disrupts the building. A floozie neighbor creates more issues. However, the family returns sooner than expected, giving Kennedy "some 'splaining" to do, not only to the family but to cops as well. Not much in the way of conflict, but Kennedy is always funny. This two reeler short is just so so in the way of laughs, but there's the typical misunderstandings, innuendos and a great pay off for the harpy old hag who really gets less than she deserves.
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Not rough viewing
hte-trasme14 October 2009
"Rough on Rents" is the first I've seen from the long and successful series of "Average Man" comedies that Edgar Kennedy starred in for RKO. I was much more familiar with Kennedy as a foil for other comedians such as Laurel and Hardy, and while he holds up fine as a protagonist, it still seems to me that his real strength was as a frustrated second banana.

This definitely feels like an entry in a series, there's a slight by-numbers atmosphere to it, and we are thrust into events very quickly, already expected to be familiar with Edgar, his family, and his living situation. The events, catalyzed by Edgar's quickly letting his apartment after losing money in a race, are the main source of comedy here, but they happen so quickly and with so little set-up in many cases that they aren't really milked for their potential. Still, it's fairly fun viewing and there are some amusing moments. One gag -- "Do you want that button?" -- had been used a lot better in a Charley Chase short from five years earlier, "The Wrong Miss Wright." I could see the final gag coming a mile away.

This is comfortable, plain comedy. Nothing really wrong with it, but it doesn't live up to the potential latent in the presence of Edgar Kennedy and a scenario like it has.
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