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Fun retro-feel 'screwball' comedy taking the viewer back to the comedy movies of the 1930s & 1960s
Quirky comedy drama, very much in the 1960s/1970s mould. (Think of a film starring the actor Richard Benjamin and you won't be far off.)
Fun and lightweight, while avoiding being popcorn for the eyes. This is a film that deserves a far more positive reception than that on its release in 1978. A comedy which harks back to the 'screwball' comedies of the 1930s & late-1960s. With a quick-spinning romance thrown in to add to the appeal of the leads, a well-cast Jeff Bridges & Farrah Fawcett.
The movie is an enthusiastic comedy that, despite this energy, is a well-honed production. With a storyline that has dead bodies that start piling up, murder & mayhem afoot, and a climactic maniacal chase around the basement of a New York department store. This film could easily have been made in the 1930s with Clark Gable or Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn or Carole Lombard. Or Barbra Streisand & George Segal. Slightly less rapid patter than in days gone by perhaps, and a story set at a marginally more 'paced' speed. Nonetheless this is a film with a clever script (well put together by Reginald Rose) that gives the characters just the right amount to say, and at the right times.
The plot line does not labour nor over-explain itself, leaving the viewer with just the right amount of information/number of scenes to deduce what is going on for themselves: spot on. With all the extras required of this type of film: a brand new romance, slightly larger-than-life oddball characters, and the 'bad guys' operating in the background to events. A rapid sequence of occurrences culminate in a fun - almost circus-like - but also appropriately dramatic conclusion.
There is great comic timing by the leads, especially Jeff Bridges who 'owns' the scenes with his easy voice, long & leggy moves, and an almost clown-like perfection to the comedy in his role. In turn Farrah Fawcett also gives a good performance (in what was the actress's first lead role in a film). She avoids playing her role as too glamorous - it would have been easy for her to slip into doing so, this film being made in her 'Charlie's Angels' heyday - which gives her character more credibility. Sweetly lovable, with an adorable babe in her arms (played, I must add, by a very winning little toddler of an actor!), Farrah Fawcett plays the rich-man's-wife who married the wrong type of man - a career-obsessed & greedy executive - with just the right amount of piquancy. She makes us believe in her hope for a happier change to a life with Jeff Bridges' less mercenary shop assistant/unpublished writer. The two leads complement each other to perfection.
This film was a surprise find on the TV programme one early afternoon. Not a film I was at all aware of - even as an admirer of Jeff Bridges. So a real treat! The two leads play opposite each other well: depicting their characters as human enough to be likable, but caught up in bizarre series of events that take over their lives; while under all the excitement is a touching and budding romance.
Not too zany, and a plot just about believable, this is true entertainment.
A must-see for Jeff B. or Farrah F. 'completists'. Or just for an enjoyable couple of hours' viewing. If you bear in mind when watching this sweet comedy that this was the 1970s, when the 'gloss' of the films of the next decade hadn't yet kicked in, then you will expect the style of cinematic enjoyment this film provides. A somewhat retrospective piece, and a film of offbeat exuberance. Well worth the viewing, this film provides a 'zestful' afternoon of TV distraction.
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