What's Up, Doc? (1972) Poster

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That's a person named Eunice?
annmason121 January 2001
What's Up Doc is one of six movies I use to offset ANY bad mood. I have seen it countless times and still can't keep the suitcases straight.

This film is full of visual humor and one liners; Madeline Kahn screaming and taking on all comers while dragging the doorkeeper across the ballroom floor; the hotel crook using his "charm" to drop Mrs. Van Hoskins in her tracks; Eunice hiding in the bathroom because snakes "live in deathly fear of tile"; the promise of Howard conducting an avalanche in A Flat.

My only regret about this movie is that it began endless failed efforts by television and movie makers to replicate the chase through San Francisco. No one has. That sequence is the best example of humor, timing, backdrop, and action, of the chase genre. It has never been equalled by either serious or comedic directors.

Little mentioned in these reviews are Kenneth Mars and Austin Pendelton, two fantastic character actors who are the emeralds surrounding the diamonds of Streisand and O'Neal in the glorious setting of this jewel.

Thank goodness no one in What's Up Doc knows the meaning of the word "propriety!".
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Superb 70s Screwball Comedy
drednm14 August 2004
Great 70s comedy stars Barbra Streisand and Ryan O'Neal in a remake of the classic Bringing Up Baby. Fun all the way in this updated story that has O'Neal playing a doofus professor up for a grant and Streisand as the madcap dropout who plagues him. A great team---and backed by Madeline Kahn, Michael Murphy, Sorrell Booke, Kenneth Mars, Mabel Albertson, Graham Jarvis, Austin Pendleton, John Hillerman, Randy Quaid, and especially Liam Dunn as the judge, in one of the best comedy performances ever. Great chase scene thru San Francisco. The court room scene is hilarious. Streisand sings "As Time Goes By." Funny film has perfect timing all the way, thanks to direction from Peter Bogdanovich. A must see.
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I Always Wanted To Marry Eunice Burns
Oggz3 December 2004
Well I simply can't resist to join what at a glance seems to be a very affectionate army of fans of this film - which is not only in my top three favourites of all time, but most definitely the funniest hour and a half ever registered on celluloid. I first saw it in 1974 - I was nine - and instantly fell under the spell. Frisco never looked prettier, flairs were fluttering, volkswagen beetles were zooming around, the muzak coming out of lifts and hotel lobbies is just as I remember it, the hair was only beginning to get big, but the aspirins were already huge...in the midst of all this, Streisand delivers like a sniper and actually looks sexy and desirable, O'Neal does his bespectacled Iowa music professor with all the dizziness of sex on legs that he was, and the cast generally glide through two separate crescendos of stupid situations, fuelled by dialogue in break neck speed, each more hilarious than the previous, all inexorably slipping into general uproar and mayhem at every turn.

But it's due to Madeline Kahn's ability to send one into hysterics with as much as opening her mouth that the film is a screwball comedy masterpiece, far superior than "Bringing Up Baby" to which it's nauseatingly compared to. The relish with which she bites into the character of Eunice Burns, in a role made for her down to the last breath in the script - is spectacular, as is its result on screen. In my mind it only compares to Jean Hagen's Lina Lamont effort in "Singin' In The Rain" - the only other single funniest female episode on screen.

Other than that, one liners, with which this stuff is packed to the rafters are still in circulation today - kept alive by enthusiast fans of seemingly all generations. This is a true comedy classic that hasn't lost any of it's breeziness, funk, sexiness and freshness with years. Dumb, twisted and invigorating all at once it's a true gem. Watch it and feel your I.Q. drop, and get hooked by all means. Or miss at your own peril.

In fact, I think I might just watch it again - now.

10/10, full on. :-)
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The most fun I've ever had in front of the TV set!
MAX803 November 1999
I think this film is the funniest movie I have ever seen. No matter how many times I see it, I always find surprisingly fresh and completely hilarious. Barbra Streisand's performance is the centerpiece of the whole film. She simply glows with warmth, sexiness, and humor. There isn't a moment when we don't find her completely believable. Ryan O'Neal adds a great physical presence and is gloriously restrained. The film also contains some great supporting turns from Ken Mars, Liam Dunn, and especially Madeline Kahn, who nearly steals the movie in her film debut.

On a scale of 10, WHAT'S UP, DOC? receives a perfect 10!
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Peerless contemporary looney-tune, a self-appointed comic valentine to the 30s served up in expert fashion by Peter Bogdanovich.
gbrumburgh-12 October 2001
Finally, a zany, riotous slapstick comedy that lives up to what it purports to be...a zany, riotous slapstick comedy! Silly, simple and superficial, with no lowbrow, leering takes or hidden moral messages lurking, `What's Up, Doc?' is pure, unadulterated fun. Bugs Bunny should be proud.

Saluting its classic screwball predecessors, this innocent send-up has all the joy, style and panache one could ask for, hitting its broad targets about 90% of the time. Director Peter Bogdanovich, (who also wrote the story and co-produced) was at his zenith when he made this in 1972. Thirty years later, I've yet to see anything comparable top it.

Ryan O'Neal and Barbra Streisand recycle the wacky `Bringing Up Baby' characters created most famously by Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn, then Hollywood's reigning king and queen of elegant farce. The madcap plot and situations may have been altered and updated, and the approach itself may be less than chic, but the results are still the same: non-stop hilarity.

Proving before her she had a nose for comedy (she was a hoot in `The Owl and the Pussycat'), Streisand outdoes herself here. She wisely (and generously) defers to the director and, in return, churns out her most engaging performance yet as a wacky, accident-prone, highly determined gal who creates utter chaos out of confusion while striving to win the guy. She proves once and for all she is a funny, FUNNY girl, her quicksilver timing a joy to behold. And, as a bonus, she sings!

Matching Streisand schtick for schtick, O'Neal is the perfect deadpan foil as the hapless but oh-so-handsome cluck she sets her unyielding sights on. His milquetoast musicologist, who has substituted rocks for brains and is about as exciting as plankton, is wonderfully maudlin -- a textbook performance in sad-sack comedy. Bogdanovich apparently brings out the best in O'Neal (`Paper Moon') who was often vilified for his lack of cinematic presence.

Madeline Kahn, in her film debut, is side-splitting as O'Neal's prodding, adenoidal, anal-retentive fiancee. Stealing scene after scene, she offers the most consistently funny character since Jean Hagen's Lina Lamont in `Singin' in the Rain,' and that's saying something. The late Ms. Kahn a sublime farceur who could probably draw laughs from a well, would never again be put to such good use as she was under the early 70s tutelage of both Bogdanovich and Mel Brooks. And how could a slapstick comedy be complete without the comicbook villainy of snooty Kenneth Mars and Austin Pendleton's inept, rumpled genius?

Be sure also to catch a number of familiar TV faces strewn about in minor roles: Mabel (`Bewitched') Albertson, John (`Magnum P.I.') Hillerman, Sorrell (`Dukes of Hazard') Booke, Graham (`Fame') Jarvis, John (`Soap') Byner, and Randy (`Davis Rules') Quaid. Best of all, however, is diminutive Liam Dunn, hilarious in the climactic courtroom scene, as a cranky, pill-popping judge.

The film receives a tremendous boost from other key creative hands, notably the fast and furious scriptwriter and the colorful production designer. Each help to amplify what's happening onscreen.

In a time of uncertainly and skittishness, `What's Up, Doc' is a refreshing reminder that laughter is still the best medicine. Th...Th...That's all, folks!
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Silly slap stick humour at its best
foz-320 July 2000
This film really does make the equivalent Carry On movies extremely juvenile. Very rarely, if at all does this film delve into lavatorial/innuendo humour. All of its humour is based on slapstick and a terrific script full of one-liners that you never tire of viewing. They could have made a sequel, but then the humour would have soured in the same way that the Naked Gun or Airplane films did. All the characterisations are spot on, everyone except Striesand is portrayed as being bumbling unsubtle fools including the CIA and Russian spys. It's basically a change to see the Americans not taking themselves seriously for once. Kenneth Mars is very amusing as O'Neal's opponent for the music grant. Of particular note is the car chase in San Francisco in an exaggerated Bullitt style. Granted, it is very dated - it's 1972 and chequered flares and velvet is much in evidence, but this adds to the film's charm. It is one of the few films that I was sad to see ending...
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The very definition of Classic Comedy
john_meyer13 May 2002
What makes you laugh? A pie in the face? A naughty reference to sex? Something gross? Something totally absurd?

Modern comedy -- TV and movies of the past thirty years -- is composed mostly of these comic devices, strung together in a random fashion between the opening and closing credits. In small doses, random skits and quick punch lines can be funny. Very funny. I love the absurd situations in Monty Python skits, and can't stop laughing watching Airplane! with each frame chock full of gross, vulgar, but always funny sight gags. However, what even these examples lack is a funny story. A real story with real people (well, almost real -- this is a comedy after all).

Only in a movie with a story can the payoffs (i.e., the laughs) be so big, because only in a movie with a story can the setups be crafted over such a long time.

"What's Up Doc?" is a truly great comedy, with a great sense of rhythm, perfectly executed direction, and fantastic comic timing from everyone involved, even the usually clueless Ryan O'Neal. The numerous big setpieces in this film will stay with you forever, especially the San Francisco chase scene with its Chinese Dragon and doomed pane of glass. But what sets this movie apart is the story. It is a story that builds laughs, one at a time, from the back of a taxi cab in San Francisco, to the final scene in the back of an airplane leaving the city.

It you haven't seen this, don't rent it, buy it. If you already own it, go watch it again. That's what I'm going to do.
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Absolutely ZANY!
grahamsj36 February 2003
I won't give away too much of the plot, but let's just say 5 identical bags get mixed up in San Francisco. Barbra Streisand hasn't been in a lot of films and after seeing this, I have to say, more's the pity. She sparkles in this film! Of course, the film itself is a madcap adventure and she just fit right in. Ryan O'Neal and the always-hilarious (unfortunately, late) Madeline Kahn also make this movie just a hoot to watch! Watch a lot of comedy before you watch this one so your laughing muscles will be in shape - that way you won't hurt yourself! This is a funny funny movie!
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This film IS funny!
carey621 May 2004
A friend of mine recently recommended this film to me. I am not a big Barbra Streisand fan so it took me about 20 minutes to get into this film. Once I was in, I was hooked! So rarely do I laugh out loud at comedies from this time period. I especially liked the hotel detective using his "charm" to delay Mrs. Van Hoskins. Kenneth Mars and Liam Dunn were hilarious, too. If physical comedy is not your bag, you may not like What's Up, Doc? But this is definitely one of my favorite comedies...even better than the old comedies to which it is supposed to be an homage. I'm glad someone listed many of the funny quotes from the film in Message Boards. I want to buy this DVD!
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Absolutely Hilarious!
David Lane26 March 2002
This movie ranks #61 on AFI's Funniest Movies list, and that is definitely way too low of a ranking for this film. This film is not the critical success of the higher rankers on the list, but it's certainly funnier. I'd be hard-pressed to think of 5 other films where I laughed as hard for as long as I did in this movie. For some tastes, it probably comes off as ridiculous or annoying. For my tastes, it is just right. The "choreography" of the sight gags is brilliant. Ryan O'Neal plays a great nerdy musicologist. Barbara Streisand is even wonderful as persistent, zany, and encyclopediac heroine. Madeline Kahn (in her first credited role) is, as usual, perfect as a neurotic fiancee (ala "Young Frankenstein"). Yes, the film is a homage to the screwball comedies of the '30s but, as funny as some of those were, I never laughed as hard as I did at this film.
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Fun Movie - Great Visual Comedy and Memorable Lines
grimzap30 April 2004
I can't count the number of times that lines from this movie come into mind. There are only a few more movies that do this for me: Arthur, Blazing Saddles, and The Princess Bride are examples and this gives you an idea of the company this film keeps. It is somewhat dated now with the strange fashions and what not but I still enjoy the visual comedy and frenetic pace. It is full of old gags that you can watch over and over. Ryan O'Neal and Barbra Streisand deliver fascinating performances and you will not forget Madeline Kahn as Eunice, the controlling, easily-flustered wife. Even the minor parts are played perfectly such as those of the scheming hotel manager and house detective who plan to steal a guest's diamonds. This is an example of a very simple plot (6 identical travel cases get mixed up) made great by excellent writing, direction, casting, and acting. Share this one with a friend!
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Funny and well worth repeated viewings
jefu20 February 2000
This film is very funny and stays so even after repeated viewings. The plot is silly, but it doesn't matter - the film is not about plot, so much as its about how this oddball bunch of characters interact - and the situations and dialog carry the film along effortlessly. Streisand and O'Neil are wonderful - surprisingly so. A much underseen and underappreciated film.
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"I know how you feel, mister...I hate it when my igneous rocks are even touched!"
moonspinner5524 July 2005
Delicious, rapid-fire screwball romp. Barbra Streisand (looking radiant) plays a freeloading kook who brings havoc and chaos to everyone in San Francisco. Peter Bogdanovich has directed a true comic gem, with absent-minded professor Ryan O'Neal the perfect foil for Barbra's nuttiness; Madeline Kahn in a fizzy, frantic debut as O'Neal's domineering fiancée; Austin Pendleton terrific as Mr. Larrabee, who spells out fun ("F.U.N."); Kenneth Mars hilarious as O'Neal's primping, preening competitor for the Larrabee Grant. In the days before cable-TV and VHS rentals, "What's Up, Doc?" played theatrically for a couple of years. Obviously in love with classic cinema, Bogdanovich turns out to be a real audience-pleaser of his own; he masterfully sets up gags that might otherwise be corny or familiar and gives them a fresh, groovy spin. ***1/2 from ****
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What's Up Doc?
Coxer994 June 1999
A Vibrant comedy that successfully captures the quality of those wonderful 1930's screwball classics. Director Bogdanovich makes the viewing and the homage worthwhile with an energetic performance from Streisand as a crazy coed who manages to disrupt the life styles of a square musicologist and his fiancee (O'Neal and Kahn, lovely in her film debut). There is great support from Mars, Murphy and a young Randy Quaid.
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How Much Is It Without Bufferin?
gurghi-221 April 1999
Sheer silliness, given structure by a tight script. The supporting cast shines- Austin Pendleton, Kenneth Mars, John Hillerman, Madeline Kahn were never any better.

To top it off, Babs comes off as sexy (though she doesn't have any competition). Peter Bogdanovich gave a rambling "lecture" at one of my film classes once, and when I asked him about the movie he claimed that Barbra and her manager thought he'd ruined her career, and despite its success Barbra has never thought it the least bit funny.
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A hilarious screwball comedy
SJBear21 March 2001
In an age when screwball comedies had largely disappeared from the screen, Peter Bogdonovich directed Barbra Streisand and Ryan O'Neal in what is still one of the funniest comedies of the 1970's. The film was a tribute to all the classic screwball comedy elements (including a pie fight and a hilarious car chase). There's nothing here to offend, so its suitable for the entire family, but its by no means juvenile comedy. The story begins with the title card "Once upon a time there was this red suitcase..."; actually there are four of them and that's the gist of the story. Stuffy college professor Howard Bannister (O'Neal) and his uptight fiance Eunice Burns (hilariously played by Madeline Khan, in her film debut) come to San Francisco for a musicologists convention (Howard is carrying one of the suitcases). Once there, Bannister meets Judy Maxwell (Streisand) a college drop-out who meets Howard in the hotel giftshop (and also has a suitcase just like Howard's). Also in the hotel is a wealthy woman (with another of the red suitcases, her's filled with diamonds) and a man running from the government (with documents in another red suitcase). Get the idea; yes the bags get mixed up and produces some hilarious situations along the way. The entire cast blends so well with one another and this is one of those little gem movies that everyone deserves to see at least once. Look for Sorrell Booke (who would later gain fame as Boss Hogg on "The Dukes Of Hazzard") as the hotel security guard.
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Classic performances in this classic comedy
jwalker01925 July 2003
This is one of the really great screwball comedies, with classic performances from all, especially the supporting cast. Ken Mars as Hugh Simon ("I'm Hugh." "You're me?" "No, I'm Hugh!" "Stop saying that! Make him stop saying that!"), Madeline Kahn in her screen debut, but especially Liam Dunn as the judge. Although this was one of his first "star" turns, he just about steals the show in his one big courtroom scene. I could watch that one scene over and over.

If you haven't seen this one, you're missing a classic. Check it out.
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Great Slapstick Film
Criti-Size26 January 2004
This is a terrific film for admirers of slapstick-styled comedies of the 1930's. O'Neal and Streisand are excellent in their roles but for me, Madeline Kahn steals the show as "Eunice", the doting (or is it nagging) fiancee.

The younger crowd may not enjoy it due to the fact that comedies can be a bit dated, but there is lots of fun and laughs throughout and a memorable chase scene in a VW Beetle.
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Simply the funniest film of the 70's
biscuitboy31 August 2001
Like "It's A Mad,Mad,Mad,Mad,World" a decade previously, "What's Up Doc?" is one of those wonderfully watchable "again & again" films. With so many witty one liners this is a joy to watch....I just love the courtroom scene (Judge Maxwell is simply the best!)...Watch as the courtroom cop shouts out as the judge walks by, scaring him half to death - only to then snag his robe on a nail adding to his frustration.....superb comic timing! Classic films like these deserve to be on DVD a lot quicker than at present....I also wish I could've seen What's Up Doc? on the big screen when it came out, especially the bit where the man avoids the rolling trashcans & lands on that table - ouch!.................... "What's Up Doc?" - who thought plaid bags & igneous rocks could be this much fun ??!!
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Quite possibly my favorite film, certainly a great comedy.
ZahrGnosis9 March 2002
I keep making my friends watch this film; especially the ones who have some public aversion to Barbara Streisand as it always changes their mind. This is classic comedy at its best. The situation never gets old, and the onslaught of one-liners is better written than anything else I've seen. I can't say that I keep catching new jokes every time I watch the movie but I did up to the 20 or 30th time I saw it (maybe I'm just slow). Did I mention the great chase scene? Yeah. Very very funny movie.
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A Loving Homage to the 1930's Screwball Comedies We had Forgotten...
Isaac585525 July 2006
WHAT'S UP, DOC? was director Peter Bogdanovich's affectionate salute to the screwball comedies of the 1930's, with a special nod to the Katharine Hepburn-Cary Grant classic BRINGING UP BABY. This cleverly constructed comedy, set in San Francisco, stars Barbra Streisand as an aimless kook who is instantly drawn to a nerdy music professor (Ryan O'Neal)while getting involved in an elaborate misunderstanding centering around four look-alike overnight bags that ends up involving half of the city of San Francisco in one of the most amazing chase sequences ever put on film. Bogdanovich gets it all right here...razor sharp dialogue that moves at a lightning pace (very Howard Hawks) with wonderful set pieces, inspired sight gags, and undeniable chemistry between the two leads (which led to a brief off screen romance). It has been well-documented over the years that Streisand hated every minute of making this film and didn't think it was the least bit funny, but I still think she shines here and has never looked more beautiful on film and few actors have made nerdiness look as sexy as O'Neal did here. Madeline Kahn makes a hysterically funny film debut here as O'Neal's tight-assed fiancée and there are other funny bits contributed along the way by Kenneth Mars, Austin Pendleton, Liam Dunn, Mabel Albertson and Sorrell Booke. No doubt, one of the funniest movies ever made. Don't miss it.
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"This is outrageous!!"
movibuf196217 June 2005
The phrase 'Screwball comedy' just doesn't do it. 'What's Up Doc?' is many things at once: It's romantic comedy, farce, parody, and a very keen and happy salute to the the witty and literate scripts of movies gone by. Comments like, "what tie is that, Eunice?" or "I think I'm having a nightmare!" or "well, how much is it WITHOUT buffering?" all add to the film's rapid-fire dialog, much of which can be attributed to the deft comic turns of Ryan O'Neal, Kenneth Mars (I am HUGH!!"), Liam Dunn (the frazzled judge who's always on the brink of shooting everyone in his courtroom), and of course Barbra Streisand in a pitch-perfect lead performance (who still manages to integrate one sultry musical excerpt of 'As Time Goes By' on a rooftop piano with O'Neal-- seconds before they both tumble off the bench in a truly ugly and hysterical bit of physical comedy). The performance of the movie, however, comes from Madeline Kahn in her DEBUT (can you imagine?!) as 'THE Eunice Burns-' prim, uptight, and completely anal!! The whole reception sequence with Austin Pendleton and everyone under the table ("oh- there goes my napkin!!") is nothing short of insane. It is only matched by the long, intricate chase through the streets of San Francisco riddled with cars, bicycles, suitcases, plate glass windows, wet cement, long staircases, a parade, and a Chinese dragon!! A marvelous wink to the audience by director Peter Bogdonavich.
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really, really funny
Scalap13 February 2004
I saw "Bringing up Baby" some years ago and was very disappointed, simply because its not funny at all. And when I heard that this one is kind of a homage to the Cary Grant Classic I was very suspicious.

And then this turned out to be one of the funniest movies I have ever seen. Good acting all around, nice score, loads of memorable scenes, slapstick and tons of very funny details and one-liners add up to a truly hilarious comedy. You`ll be smiling and laughing all along, and just when you think it can`t get any better, Liam Dunn appears on screen and steals the show with his one scene in court which literally made me roll on the floor laughing...

Don´t miss this one!
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Curiously overlooked piece of insanity
dseliber29 June 2003
Don't we all have a movie that has a special place in our heart? A movie that isn't necessarily a great movie, but we love it so much that we wonder why other people don't. Mine is "What's Up, Doc?", a homage to the classic screwballs of the past - most notably compared to Hawks' "Bringing Up Baby".

The plot in brief: there are four people with four identical plaid traveling cases all staying on the same floor of the same hotel. One of the cases has igneous rocks, one has valuable jewels, one has secret government documents, and one has just odds and ends. Inevitably, the cases are eventually mismatched and end up in the wrong hands. The climax is a fantastic, riotous car chase through the streets of San Francisco (where better place to have one?) which has a wet finale.

I'm a serious moviegoer for the most part, but "What's Up, Doc?" is one of my sentimental favorites - a movie I like just because it makes me smile.
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