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Road to Rio Review


Good
In Road to Rio, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, and Dorothy Lamour appear in their fifth "Road" picture with Road to Rio closing out the 1940s and the dependable series, after which there were only a few minor flare-ups in the next 15 years (Road to Bali in 1952 and the final Road to Hong Kong in 1962).

Road to Rio stands apart from the other "Road" films as having the most eclectic mix of film, radio, and recording celebrities and references. Where other "Road" films concern themselves with cinematic deconstruction (Road to Utopia, Road to Bali) and others are mired in B-movie plot development (Road to Singapore, Road to Zanzibar), this "Road" proceeds more like a variety show within a flimsy extended sketch comedy framework.

Continue reading: Road to Rio Review

The Road To Rio Review


Good
In The Road To Rio, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, and Dorothy Lamour appear in their fifth "Road" picture with The Road To Rio closing out the 1940s and the dependable series, after which there were only a few minor flare-ups in the next 15 years (The Road To Bali in 1952 and the final The Road To Hong Kong in 1962).

The Road To Rio stands apart from the other "Road" films as having the most eclectic mix of film, radio, and recording celebrities and references. Where other "Road" films concern themselves with cinematic deconstruction (The Road To Utopia, The Road To Bali) and others are mired in B-movie plot development (The Road To Singapore, The Road To Zanzibar), this "Road" proceeds more like a variety show within a flimsy extended sketch comedy framework.

Continue reading: The Road To Rio Review

The Great Muppet Caper Review


Good
"Great?" I'm not sure about that, but this minor kiddie classic is reasonably entertaining, if only for the chance to see Charles Grodin falling in love for a stuffed pig.

The film opens with amazing promise: Immediately dazzling us with a plethora of Hollywood in-jokes (the poking of fun begins with Kermit and Fozzie mocking the opening credits). A musical number ensures us of the myriad thrills and chills that will soon arrive.

Continue reading: The Great Muppet Caper Review

The Five Pennies Review


OK
Louis Armstrong's appearance here -- as himself -- is The Five Pennies' real draw, though Danny Kaye, Barbara Bel Geddes, and the rest of the cast turn in admirable performances in this biopic of relatively obscure jazz trumpeter Loring "Red" Nichols. Nichols has quite the turbulent life story -- starting his own popular jazz combo (the titular Five Pennies) after pissing off every band leader in New York, only to have it all crash down on him when his daughter develops polio. During WWII he works as a shipyard laborer before bouncing back again for a bittersweet finale. While Kaye is perfectly fine in the lead, the story of Nichols just isn't on par with the life of some of music's greats. The combination of career self-destruction and simple bad luck are just a little too spurious to make for a classic movie.

The Great Muppet Caper Review


Good
"Great?" I'm not sure about that, but this minor kiddie classic is reasonably entertaining, if only for the chance to see Charles Grodin falling in love for a stuffed pig.

The film opens with amazing promise: Immediately dazzling us with a plethora of Hollywood in-jokes (the poking of fun begins with Kermit and Fozzie mocking the opening credits). A musical number ensures us of the myriad thrills and chills that will soon arrive.

Continue reading: The Great Muppet Caper Review

The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox Review


Terrible
Tragically bad "western" -- in the sense that it takes place in the past and involves horses -- with George Segal(!) as a con man cowboy and Goldie Hawn(!!) as a bawdy and conniving showgirl. They hate each other but fall in love when a briefcase full of money comes into play. Rotten dialogue and totally derivative story, not to mention some of the worst acting seen this side of the Pecos.

A Touch Of Class Review


OK
George Segal steals the show (as usual) in this romantic comedy, but it's Glenda Jackson who won the Oscar for A Touch of Class. Her stuffy and dour character (as usual) isn't really anything special -- she's the straight man to Segal's hambone, a married man who's desperately trying to get the British Jackson into bed, despite his old age (back spasms, and so on). A Touch of Class tries to turn infidelity into comedy gold, as many of its 1970s compatriots also did, victims of the sexual revolution. Too bad that today, the film is dated, relying too much on slapstick humor and saddled with now-stale gags. Hilarious for its time? (Hilarious enough for a Best Picture nomination?) You be the judge.

It Started in Naples Review


OK
It started in Naples, but it ends here! OK, that has nothing to do with the movie, but it sounds funny, and this harmless little comedy is so inobtrusively light that it barely merits much more discussion than that.

Clark Gable (at 59, in his second-to-last film appearance) and Sophia Loren (only 26, but appearing far older) romance it up in this vaguely creepy setup: Gable plays an American lawyer who travels to Italy to tend to the estate of his dead brother. Turns out bro's son (the mononymous Marietto) is now in the care of an aunt (Loren), who doesn't know much about child-rearing but who obviously cares for the child. Distrust and miscommunication eventually turn into romance.

Continue reading: It Started in Naples Review

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