|SEND ME NO FLOWERS (1964)|
|George: "Isn't a man innocent until proven guilty?"
Arnold: "You're dealing with your wife. You can forget the Constitution."
|Time: 100 mins.|
Rating: Not Rated
If youíre looking to recapture the flirty fabulous fun of such Day/Hudson flicks like PILLOW TALK and LOVER COME BACK, youíre going to be sorely disappointed with this effort. While the chemistry between Day and Hudson is still palpable, this re-teaming leaves much to be desired like a decent plot and witty dialogue. By making Hudson a hypochondriac, the filmmakerís were clearly trying to give him something more to do than stand around and look gorgeous. Unfortunately, heís not remotely believable as a mopey, disease-obsessed neurotic. That, however, is the least of this filmís many errors in judgment. When his worst fears suddenly become a reality, or so he misunderstands, he attempts to find a new husband for his wife (Day), a lovely woman whoís apparently incapable of taking care of her self without the help of a man. The stereotype of the dependant wife is one Day was able to avoid for most of her cinema career and sheís unable to pull it off here. She may play ditzy with the best of them; however itís clear from her demeanor that she is anything but.
That being said, neither of these issues is the filmís main problem, which is the lack of screen time between Day and Hudson. Since theyíre already married when the story begins weíre denied the deliciously witty, sexual innuendos that make their other films so much fun. Instead, weíre treated to a buddy act between Hudson and Tony Randall, as they attempt to come to terms with Hudsonís impending demise and his wifeís marital future. While they make a charming comedy duo, their onscreen chemistry isnít exactly what I was expecting to see. Though Randall is so brilliant as Hudsonís neighbor drowning his sorrow at his friendís fate with every bit of alcohol he can get his hands on his performance almost makes the rest of the plot worth sitting through. Of course, Hudsonís attempt to force his wife into the arms of an old boyfriend (March) leads to an even greater misunderstanding than his fatal diagnosis, which Day doesnít know about. When she finds him in the arms of another woman, the already wacky plot takes an obvious turn that causes the proceedings to lose whatever good will the film previously generated.
In the end, once they both discover heís going to live after all, heís forced to eat crow and try to repair the damage his constant worrying has done to their marriage. Day takes him back, but not before meting out a little vengeance of her own for all the crap his determination to die young put her through. Unfortunately for us, Dayís punishment and Hudsonís groveling are not heartfelt or funny enough to make this an experience worth savoring. Sure, SEND ME NO FLOWERS has some outrageous and romantic moments (especially Dayís revenge seduction scene), but they are few and far between. The plot leaves Day with nothing to do but look pretty and act frustrated and has Hudson fumbling for a character worthy of his comedic talent and rakish charm. Only Randall comes out ahead. His boozy performance is the high point of the film. He steals every scene heís in from his A-List compatriots. Sometimes being the third wheel is a good thing. Romantic comedies are inherently filled with outrageous situations on the road to happiness. This one just happens to find a ditch of ridiculousness it canít find a way around. Not the worst of itsí genre, but certainly nothing to write home about. For a silly, sexy, adult good time, check out Day and Hudsonís best pairing, PILLOW TALK. A film worthy of their talent and guaranteed to put a smile on your face and love in your heart.