Hal Roach must have had the idea that he could strike gold several more times with the success of Laurel and Hardy by creating a female version of them in his shorts, and like Laurel and Hardy, eventually moving them to features. First, it was Zasu Pitts and Thelma Todd, then Todd with Patsy Kelly, and after Todd's sudden shocking death, Kelly with the Polish born Lyda Roberti. Unfortunately, Roberti's passing in 1938 ended that franchise, and Kelly ended up as the main female comic in a series of low budget features that co-starred much of his ensemble. This "B" comedy with a few song and dance numbers is nothing more than an extended short, but there are some very funny things in it, hence my deciding to raise the rating after seeing it again.
The Kelly/Todd pairing was unique because it was two complete opposites: the lady (Todd) and the slob (Kelly), sort of a prequel to "The Odd Couple", caught up in some wacky situations where it was circumstances and clumsiness rather than simply being dumb that got these girls into trouble. The Todd/Kelly shorts are hit and miss depending on who you talk to, but for me, they are quite funny, and it is obvious that there is a bit of Lucy and Ethel, as well as Laverne and Shirley, in their antics. When Todd died, her part was handed off to Roberti, and she is presented as a bit closer to Stan Laurel with Patsy Kelly obviously her Oliver Hardy. Kelly has the slow burn that Hardy did, frustrated by Roberti's getting them into trouble always, and often, she even has an amusing malapropism (more because of her broken English) than her naivete. Roberti is basically an European version of "Mexican Spitfire" Lupe Velez without the temper, although in one Hal Roach musical ("Pick a Star!"), she had that temperament in spades.
The plot here has Kelly being accepted to nursing school and oh so grateful to get away from roommate Roberti who has been driving her crazy. But unbeknownst to Kelly (but maybe not to Lyda), Roberti's been accepted in the same nursing school, and guess who ends up becoming Kelly's roommate once again. In class, Roberti's bedmaking technique has her turning Kelly into a mummy (or a mental patient with the straight jacket attached), and when Roberti ends up on the same bus as Kelly, her constant jabbering literally puts Kelly to sleep. Because of that they end up in the middle of nowhere and must hitchhike back to the city, making the acquaintance of police detective Lynne Overman and his pal, reporter Robert Armstrong, creating instant romance for the wacky pair. A night out with the boys ends up with them spotting dancer Rosina Lawrence running away from her husband/partner who wants to keep their marriage secret. Lawrence ends up in the hospital later on with a new baby, and it is up to Roberti and Kelly to keep her secret, which confuses both Overman and Armstrong who seem to think that the baby is one of theirs!
So yes, by my 4/10, ** star rating, I don't think this is by means a great film, more about the comic moments than the soapy plot that has some maudlin moments between Lawrence and her self-centered Latin lothario husband/partner Don Alvarado. It is the personalities of the two women and their hilarious interactions, especially Kelly's often quiet eye roll or gape at Roberti's constant cheerful chattering. While made on a B budget at the Hal Roach lot at MGM (before he broke off on his own), this does get an "A" look, especially with the lavish nightclub setting. The fact that Roberti would pass away (from a heart attack due to a heart condition brought on by simply tying her shoe!) is rather sad considering the fact that she was so young and vivacious here. Kelly supported some of the great glamour girls of the 1930's (Harlow, Alice Faye, Marion Davies, etc.), but it is the two women (Todd & Roberti) from her shorts whom she will be remembered for working with, as well as her miraculous comeback in the 1970's as a scene-stealing old mugger on Broadway getting laughs simply by screaming at a vacuum cleaner (in the hit revival of "No No Nanette"). Kelly's brand of comedy might be corny, but for some reason, it doesn't date, and she seems as fresh in the 2010's as she did 80 years ago.