Sunday, December 27, 2015

Smile (1975)

Director: Michael Ritchie

Writer: Jerry Belson

Composer: ???

Starring: Bruce Dern, Barbara Feldon, Michael Kidd, Geoffrey Lewis, Eric Shea, Nichalas Pryor, Titos Vandis, Paul Benedict, Wiliam Traylor, Dennis Dugan, George Wyner, Joan Prather, Denise Nickerson, Melanie Griffith, Annette O'Toole, Maria O'Brian, Colleen Camp, Caroline Williams, Kate Sarchet

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Raised on hamburgers and soda pop, She's got a winning smile that's hard to top. A credit to her family, the ideal teen, She's America's daughter, she's a beauty queen.

Plot:  It's time again for California's "Young American Miss" beauty pageant, the biggest event of the year for Big Bob Freelander and Brenda DiCarlo, who give their all to put on a successful pageant. But Brenda is having marital difficulties and Bob's son is up to some mischief. Could this year's pageant be in jeopardy?

My rating: 6.5/10

Will I watch it again?  No.

This flick has a lot of fun with beauty pageants at the expense of not just those performing in them but those who work behind the scenes.  The cast is great and they're a lot of fun.  One of the funniest bits was one of the girls singing Delta Dawn.  She's so so bad and it's uproariously funny.  You'd think that the story would stay focused on the goings on of the pageant but it takes a strange turn away from all of that and deals with a strange club Big Bob (Dern) belongs to where members, upon turning 35, have to kiss a dead chicken stuffed with whipped cream.  And the members are dressed in white sheets looking like the KKK.  One of their members works for Big Bob and is married to Brenda (Feldon) who is managing the pageant.  They have some domestic trouble that culminates with a gunshot.  It's at this point that we've been far removed from the pageant for quite a while.  Once we're back to the show it feels like the film is on track again.  It's a strange departure that doesn't work, making the picture feel disjointed.  Fortunately we get some laughs (but not with the diversion) and some nudity courtesy of Camp and Griffith (among others).  Yay!  Overall it's a generally fun film despite the diversion.  A second viewing might make that one section better to understand but I doubt I'll ever see it again.  The MGM DVD delivers a nice but non-anamorphic print and the sole extra is the trailer, also non-anamorphic.

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