Appellate Judge James A. Stewart avoids bickering couples on ocean liners.
"A man wants a woman. A woman wants a man. It's impossible."—Arthur
Love is funny—or at least that's what the makers of film farces hoped back in the fifties and sixties. Oh, Men! Oh, Women! shows its farcical intent early, as the main actors are introduced on flying couches to hint at its setting: a psychiatrist's office.
The shrink in question is Dr. Alan Coles (David Niven, The Pink Panther), who's about to set sail on an ocean cruise, from which he plans to return wed to Myra (Barbara Rush, It Came from Outer Space). Before he goes, though, he has to take on "an unusually interesting case" who has been referred to him. The case in question is Grant Cobbler (Tony Randall, The Odd Couple), who's still upset over his ex-flame. The interesting part is that the ex-flame is—you guessed it—Myra. What's more interesting is that another patient, the wife (Ginger Rogers, Kitty Foyle) of an actor (Dan Dailey, There's No Business Like Show Business), lets Coles know that her husband once strayed from her with Myra. Soon, Myra's current and exes are all at her apartment. Enough hijinks ensue to put the impending nuptials into question.
Characterizations in Oh, Men! Oh, Women! aren't deep: David Niven's Coles has a self-confidence that borders on—no, steps right into—arrogance when discussing the exes with his fiancee. Tony Randall's Cobbler is whiny but persistent. Dan Dailey's Arthur Turner spends too much time philosophizing to connect with his wife, even though he loves her. Myra just doesn't want to deal with all of this. All of the above were starting to grate on my nerves by the end of the relatively short movie.
You'll find the gags rather familiar, too, as when an unfortunate steward has to lug baggage back and forth as Coles and Myra argue just before their ship sails.
What finally sinks Oh, Men! Oh, Women!, though, is the talkiness. Too much of the dialogue seems like a treatise on romance, when what I really wanted was jokes and silliness. Worse yet, the treatise seems to come from cliches rather than anything real.
Picture quality is good, but the movie is rather simply done, showing its roots in an Edward Chodorov play with its reliance on a few sets: Coles' office, Myra's apartment, the ship's stateroom. As with other DVDs pressed on demand, the movie might not play in all machines.
I have a high tolerance for outdated cinematic romantic hijinks; I recently enjoyed Randall's follow-up, Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?. However, Oh, Men! Oh, Women! put that tolerance to the test.
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