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   UNDER THE YUM YUM TREE (1963) 

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CAST
Jack Lemmon
Carol Lynley
Dean Jones
Edie Adams
Imogene Coca
Paul Lynde
Jerry Antes
Robert Lansing

DIRECTED BY
David Swift

PURCHASE


Video




Time: 110 mins.
Rating: Not Rated
Genre: Comedy


Jack Lemmon is one of cinema's greatest comedians and it's a real shame to see his talents trivialized in a film such as this. It's not that UNDER THE YUM YUM TREE is a bad film, it's just not worthy of his talent. A sex comedy without the sex, that relies mainly on Lemmon's performance as a man with only one thing on his mind...sleeping with as many young woman as possible. It's not that he's unbelievable as a no-good lothario, it's just that there's nothing else there. YUM YUM is actually a film about the joy of marriage and true love that takes the wacky road to getting its young lovers together. It tries to be a sexy, modern comedy, but it gets bogged down with old-fashioned values and downright silliness. This film is obviously trying to re-capture the sex appeal and wit of Lemmon's earlier romantic comedy THE APARTMENT, but it comes nowhere near the cleverness and pathos of that film. That's an off-beat love story I can get behind.

I guess the main problem with YUM YUM is that Lemmon is not the primary love interest, though he certainly does give it the old college try. He's relegated to playing second fiddle and becomes merely a pathetic shell of hormones as the film progresses. Mainly because it's made quite clear that he will not be getting the girl from the very beginning. So his antics become sad instead of funny. The object of his lust is the very pretty and extremely naive Robin (Lynley), a girl with a steady boyfriend and a crazy scheme about living together before marriage, without sex, to see if she and David (Jones) are truly compatible. David goes along with her proposal, but doesn't plan on waiting until the nuptials for marital relations. Mr. Hogan (Lemmon), their landlord, has other ideas, mainly to gain Robin for himself. Not that he wants to marry her, just get his hands on her yum yums, if you catch the drift. Not that you could miss it in this film.


It seems that Hogan is a confirmed bachelor of the sleazy kind who only rents apartments to pretty women. The reason Robin found out about the apartment is through her aunt Irene (Adams) who had her own run in with Hogan and got her heart broken. He's not exactly the type to settle down with one woman. At least for very long. Though when he has his eye on one he can be quite determined as David quickly finds out. There seems to be nothing David can do to keep Hogan out of their apartment and away from Robin, who's oblivious to his naughty intentions. David also finds it pretty hard to resist Robin's charms and is having a problem keeping his end of the platonic bargain. Things get pretty crazy as both men fight for the right to get into her bed. Though things don't go as smoothly as she anticipated, it's clear that Robin only has eyes for David. In the end, they move forward with their relationship and Hogan moves on to his next liaison. It's a happy ending for all.

Except the audience who has to sit through such overdone dialogue and crazy pratfalls. Lemmon gives the film great energy, but the script really doesn't give him anywhere to go. Carol Lynley is certainly beautiful and sweet and has great charm in this movie, but she's not given much to do but be pretty. Though the scene where she gets drunk and starts tempting her fiance is both funny and sexy. If I were a man, I wouldn't have been able to resist her. It's too bad the rest of the movie didn't have more scenes like that to showcase her talent. Dean Jones is fine as the exasperated and honorable David. He holds his own against Lemmon, which isn't easy to do. Both Paul Lynde and Imogene Coca give clever supporting turns as Hogan's housekeeper and gardner. It's clear that Lynde's character loves his wive, but would give his right arm to be Hogan for just one night. He's got the intentions, just nothing to back them up with.

UNDER THE YUM YUM TREE isn't a horrible movie, it's just not a unique one and is certainly not one that uses it's talented cast to the best of their abilities. If you like Jack Lemmon, have already seen THE APARTMENT and are looking for something frothy to while away some time, this is a sweet concoction that will go down easily...and be just as quickly forgotten.



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