22 October 2014 | kevinolzak
Bert Wheeler and Dorothy Lee, without Robert Woolsey
1931's "Too Many Cooks" was RKO's failed attempt to double their profits by splitting up their greatest asset, the comedy team of Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey, into separate features, Wheeler here, Woolsey following in "Everything's Rosie." Delightful Dorothy Lee, present in 14 of their 20 RKOs, was just as indispensable, happily retained for this dated property from actor/playwright Frank Craven, remembered by horror buffs as Dr. Harry Brewster opposite Lon Chaney in 1943's "Son of Dracula." Bert and Dorothy were unhappy during the filming, but their real-life affection for each other carries the picture through to the end, as an engaged couple building their dream home on a vacant lot in a rural area in upstate New York, 63 miles from NYC. He finally meets her extended family, all rather pushy and disapproving of him, while she reacts negatively to his wealthy uncle's plan to move in with them once the house is finished (Dorothy's best friend is played by Sharon Lynn, best remembered for Laurel and Hardy's "Way Out West," while Ruth Weston followed this with "The Public Defender," opposite Richard Dix and Boris Karloff). There's actually little else to the story, too close to reality to be amusing, Bert Wheeler's fairly straight rendition quite unlike anything else he did on screen, a role that was better suited for the domestic Hal Roach comic Charlie Chase. Dorothy Lee is as adorable as ever, and like Bert is called upon for a serious performance that makes one yearn for a little song and dance patter to lighten the unfunny mood. Always a good match, their wonderful on screen chemistry survives intact, but watching the hopeful lovebirds giving in to the demands of others is hardly surefire material for laughter; still, it may just be superior to Woolsey's "Everything's Rosie," which virtually by default is clearly the funnier of the two. After this, RKO dropped any further solo vehicles for Wheeler and Woolsey and teamed them for their 7th feature, "Caught Plastered," again with Dorothy Lee.