Oliver's plans to marry his hefty sweetheart go awry when the girl's father gets a load of her intended groom. They then elope in a tiny car much too small for their combined dimensions, not... Read allOliver's plans to marry his hefty sweetheart go awry when the girl's father gets a load of her intended groom. They then elope in a tiny car much too small for their combined dimensions, not to mention the accompanying Stan. They find a Justice of the Peace to perform he ceremony... Read allOliver's plans to marry his hefty sweetheart go awry when the girl's father gets a load of her intended groom. They then elope in a tiny car much too small for their combined dimensions, not to mention the accompanying Stan. They find a Justice of the Peace to perform he ceremony, but the official's cross-eyed condition results in unintended consequences.
Our Wife is one of those Laurel and Hardy comedies that at first seem so broad and farcical (it is) but upon multiple viewings, reveal a surprising number of beautiful subtleties. I know, because my two-year- old son loves it and constantly requests it sometimes twice a day. Look at Stan, re-entering the room after having been quickly ushered out by Ollie, who wants some privacy to talk to his beloved. It is a completely guileless gesture, just like(need I say it) a two-year-old's response to a restriction he doesn't recognize as such. And Stan's satisfied smile when Ollie explains "Why, you're the best man!" And no small credit goes to Babe London as Ollie's betrothed. Just look at her expression of guarded optimism as Justice of the Peace Ben Turpin goes through his auctioneering gibberish during the ceremony. Then, notice Ben at the fadeout. After mistakenly marrying Stan to Ollie, all he seems interested in is pushing through the group in his living room and rushing back to bed. Even their struggles to get into that 1930 American Austin Coupe, the depression era's version of the Mini-Cooper, is doubly funny when considering the context, that of a rushed getaway. The time-space continuum "takes five" as they try to maneuver themselves into the car. Ollie's exasperated query: "What did you want to hire a thing like this for?" goes unanswered, hinting at an excised shot or two, but it also signifies the boy's quick acceptance of obstacles thrown in their path and their earnest attempts to overcome them. The whole movie is a series of set pieces in which the boys go through the minimal obligatory motions of an adult rite-of-passage: the one-layer cake, frosting peeling off like a tree shedding bark, the minimal wedding decorations, the quick spray of dried rice and a shoe to the head, the mumbled wedding vows, the pro-forma "Congratulations, my boy, you've married the sweetest girl in all the world!" from the justice of the peace it's all about two little boys playing grown-up, and overcoming the brief lacuna of adulthood and ending up back together again.
- Mar 6, 2009
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