The Weiss Brothers owned a small chain of movie theaters and got into production. It was an model of business expansion that had worked before, but they were a bit too late to become major players. They remained Poverty Row producers and gave up some time in the 1930s.
In the 1920s they tried several comedy short subject series, usually with stars who had lost their contracts with better financed studios. Jimmy Aubrey, the star of this film, had never been a top-ranked star, but he was a competent one. The trouble is that he never developed a personality that the audience cared about and his gag construction was never more than average. In this one he spends the first reel trying to mooch money because he is too lazy to work. In the second, he winds up running a lunch counter and gets involved in a sporadic pie fight. One sequence is built pretty much like one in Chaplin's THE IMMIGRANT more than a decade before, while the others look and time like burlesque routines.
That is phrased too strongly. For the obviously tiny budget, KEEP SMILING works its jokes well and times its gags at a good clip. It is simply that Aubrey never makes anything his own that makes this just another of the innumerable forgettable short comedies of the 1920s.
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