|ROOM SERVICE (1938)|
William A. Seiter
|" I still think it's a terrible play, but it makes a wonderful rehearsal."|
|Time: 78 mins.|
Rating: Not Rated
SYNOPSIS: A theatrical troupe faces eviction from the hotel where they're rehearsing if they can't come up with a backer to pay their bills and fund their play. They force the play's naive author to pretend to be ill in order to keep from being thrown out of their room.
BOTTOM LINE: While the Marx Bros. wacky brand of comedy usually has my sides splitting, this version of their merry antics to triumph over "The Man" left me underwhelmed. Except for the brothers, the rest of the cast isn't up to their usual caliber. Ball and Miller don't get to contribute much because the film fails to bring any of their prodigious talents to the screen. This is a boys' club and their involvement is pure eye candy. All that could be overlooked if the plot wasn't so paper thin. Since they can't leave their hotel room, what they can do to generate laughs is fairly limited. There are two outstanding sequences one where they chase a live turkey around the room and the other where they chow down a meal after starving for 24 hours that made me laugh out loud. The rest of the time is spent unpacking and repacking suitcases, shoving people and props into and out of closets and having various members of the group pretending to be either a doctor or a patient. These scenarioes aren't necessarily bad, they just become a bit repetitive as the film goes along. Albertson and Miller are supposed to add romance, but their parts are underdeveloped, leaving little time for their relationship to add up to much. McBride is the villain of the piece and while it's fun to watch the Bros. try to outwit him, it's not really a fair contest. That he angrily screams "jumping butterballs" whenever something goes wrong is nonsensical, unfunny and utterly annoying. Worth a look for fans only.