PRIVATE BENJAMIN (1980) 

CAST
Goldie Hawn
Eileen Brennan
Armand Assante
Robert Webber
Sam Wanamaker
Barbara Barrie
Mary Kay Place
Harry Dean Stanton

DIRECTED BY
Howard Zieff
PURCHASE


Movie




Time: 109 Minutes
Rating: R
Genre: Comedy

AWARDS: Academy Award nominations for Best Actress (Hawn), Best Supporting Actress (Brennan) and Best Original Screenplay.

I know it's only been 20 years since this film was released, and I'm probably the only person in America who never saw it. I've just never been that interested. It's not like I hate Hawn, she's just not my favorite comedic actress. Her flicks are generally a bit too silly for my taste. I have to admit though, she does an amazing job here, as a spoiled rich girl looking for a little structure in her life after the death of her husband on their wedding night. I understand that she was in shock and needed a change, but I found that reason to be more than a bit ridiculous for her joining the Army. They clearly needed something drastic and sort of funny, but basic training would not be the answer if it were me. So what if everyone thinks you're a worthless screw-up. There are many other ways to make a difference in the world, involving a lot less personal pain.

The good news for the audience is that Judy Benjamin continues to be useless, even in the Army, which makes the middle part of the film pretty funny. Hawn is at her best here especially in scenes with Eileen Brennan; however, once the ladies leave the Army base the plot kind of flounders in an absurd twist that just doesn't jive with the rest of the story. This isn't rocket science, but it should at least make some amount of sense. The humor goes from witty to absurd and back around to silly, so there's something for everyone. What keeps this film afloat is a well-drawn and acted character and a whole lot of heart. Even if you're not a fan of Hawn, this is a movie you should check out. A decades-old gem that still holds most of its luster. A pre-cursor to STRIPES...who knew joining the army was so entertaining.



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"See, I did join the army, but I joined a *different* army. I joined the one with the condos and the private rooms."

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