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In the 1930s and 40s, Edgar Kennedy made a long string of domestic
comedies starring either Florence Lake or Vivian Oakland. I've seen a
few of the ones with Lake, and frankly, she played an annoying and easy
to hate character. So, when I found that he'd also made similar films
with Oakland (who lacked the annoying laugh and was easier to like), I
was thrilled--especially since I'd just bought two DVDs of these films!
The film begins with Edgar's wife complaining how he doesn't put any pride in his looks now that they've been married for many years. The neighbor has an idea--invite one of Vivian's old boyfriends for a visit--and see that he, too, has gone to seed. However, the neighbor was mistaken--and the old boyfriend isn't the fat old guy he thought he was. While not gorgeous, he was prettier than Edgar--and Edgar was worried what would happen next. What follows isn't all that funny....but at least Oakland isn't an actress that instills me with hatred--and Lake was! So, while not a great film, it was pleasant and mildly funny....mildly.
The slapstick is pretty much put aside and plot and characterization take center stage in this Edgar Kennedy two-reel comedy. Edgar's father-in-law invites an old flame of Vivian's for the weekend to rekindle some romance between Edgar and Vivian. But father-in-law Billy invites the wrong man. The comedy is sweeter and more sentimental than most of the Kennedy comedies which present him as the world's number one loser. Here we have more of the feel that would later be used by Jackie Gleason in the "Honeymooners". It's a nice change of pace for Edgar and I only wish that it would have contained a Gleasonesque "Baby, you're the greatest" punch line instead of the standard Kennedy punch line. But this is minor grumbling. Even people who dislike the usual two-reel slapstick will enjoy this sweet little situation comedy.
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