"What a Bozo!" is one of Charley Chase's more lightweight comedies. The plot isn't stunningly intricate as in some of his other films, nor are the gags or situations as mind-boggling and outlandish. It's still wonderfully entertaining, though, with a buoyant, jolly, musical spirit that makes it very fun viewing (the mood is enhanced by the plot's allowing even more than the usual share of bouncy Leroy Shields background music).
Charley is a bandleader, essentially, who is trying to impress a high-society girl while his plans are being frustrated by a dancer who fancies him instead. This film features a (sadly interrupted) sequence of Charley singing "Smile When the Raindrops Fall," which became a kind of theme song (and later the title for his biography), which humorously sets up the funniest and best set-up gags of the short, as Charley gets drenched no fewer than three times while trying to impress the woman.
Elizabeth Forrester's acting is really quite stiff as the society woman, but that somehow actually works a little bit in the comedy's favor in certain ways as she humorously responds to Charley's fine comedy acting in Margaret DuMont fashion. Gay Seabrook, the bozo of the title (in very much a throwaway line), is very cute and funny as Charley's admirer, making me want to find some material from the comedy team she apparently belonged to, Seabrook and Treacy.
Much of the second half of the film is taken up by Charley's attempts to save Elizabeth's home pageant despite not have brought and orchestra and Gay's attempts to sabotage it (in which are some nice gags), which threatens to turn this short into almost as much a musical novelty as a Charley Chase comedy, but always in an infectiously fun way.
This might not necessarily be Charley Chase in his most exemplary film or at the height of his art, but it does a great job of showing that even with a slighter situation he would turn in not a throwaway but a thoroughly entertaining twenty minutes.
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