20 July 2006 | vandino1
Enjoyable little comedy
Hal Roach decided to try pushing Patsy Kelly up from short subjects to feature stardom and this is the first attempt. It's actually quite good, mostly because of the expert cast on hand. An odd title, although it refers to Patsy Kelly's character being Guinn Williams "second" in the ring, it's never said: she's referred to only as William's trainer. But the film is an odd duck overall, anyway. It has a loopy start with Williams as a two-fisted truck driver who gets into a donnybrook on the street after accidentally hijacking Kelly's car onto the rear bumper of his truck. When the cops arrive the two of them dash off to her place of employment: a pharmacy run by Charley Chase. Now the film becomes equal parts Kelly-Williams and Chase as Williams is given a 'no-fight-or-else' probation by the Judge and Chase inadvertently puts up his pharmacy as Williams' bond. Weirdly, Kelly and Chase decide that Williams SHOULD keep fighting... but in the boxing ring instead. This leads to a ringside get together with gangster Ed Brophy and his mob, featuring girlfriend Kelton and head bodyguard Harold Huber. From here on the film becomes equal parts Chase, Brophy and Kelly-Williams. When Chase gets in trouble with Brophy lots of complications ensue.
Quite a slapsticky film, with lots of frantic antics keeping the movie going at top speed. It rarely lets up for a quiet moment and that's to its advantage. Even with all the fights and gangsters and jealousy stuff between Kelton and Kelly over Williams, the film is still a good- natured romp from start to finish. Even the gangsters are fun, especially Huber who looks like he's having a blast as Brophy's slyly wisecracking strong arm. Charley Chase, even here late in his career, plays the nervous bumbler better than any other. And Williams may never have gotten a bigger or better role in his career, seeing as he was usually relegated to small supporting roles in most of his film appearances. Kelly is expert, as always, although she's directed to shout most of her lines, making her a tad too brassy and one-note after awhile (whereas in contrast Chase and Huber get laughs by almost muttering some of their lines). Only the expert comedian Pert Kelton is left without much of a part and almost nothing funny to say. Too bad. But this little comedy is still worth a look for its modest but goofy charm.