29 January 2020 | MartinHafer
A mixed bag....but not bad for 1929.
Had this film debuted into the 1930s, I would have given it a lower score. However, films from 1928-29 were a rather crude lot because the sound systems they were using were so antiquated and they weren't yet able to film well outdoors or in more natural environments because of this bulky sound equipment. So, comparing them to later films doesn't seem fair and I cut these early sound flicks some slack.
"Sweetie" is a college musical comedy. And, like nearly all college films of the day, the students never seem to go to classes. Instead, they go to parties and football games...and that's really about it!
The star of the school's football team has a secret--he's planning on eloping with his girlfriend Barbara. But the coach appeals to the young man's school spirit and he reluctantly agrees to stay. Barbara is not happy about it but soon after she ends up inheriting this college (huh??). Soon she's running the place and with this comes lots of inexplicable singing and dancing. And, now things are very tense between the two...and she takes it out on the football team. In the end, it all boils down to the cliched 'big game'.
In addition to Nancy Carroll and Stanley Smith in the leads, Helen Kane, Stu Erwin and Jack Oakie are on to provide comic relief. As for Kane, depending on who you read, was the inspiration for Betty Boop and her main talents in this film consist of her singing and sexually harassing Stu Erwin...and sounding much like Betty Boop in the process.
So is this college romp any good? Yes and no. The film has a lot of energy and a few cute moments but it also could use some closed captioning because the sound is only fair. But Helen Kane's routine does wear a bit thin and the songs are an indifferent lot.
By the way, during the game you might notice a play where a player is tackled and he hits the ground but gets up and keeps running. Back in the day, you could legally keep running until you were taken down and held there.