9 May 2006 | stevehaynie
Goodbye, Tom. Hello, Rosie.
The Ma and Pa Kettle series was very consistent for its first three movies after the characters were introduced in The Egg and I. This fourth entry in the series is a departure from the rest, but just as good as its predecessors.
Oldest son Tom is mentioned briefly, but no longer part of the story. The gags about the Kettles' old and new houses were discarded. Birdie Hicks returns as Ma's biggest rival for prizes at the fair. Introduced to the series is daughter Rosie, played by Lori Nelson.
Rosie hopes to go to college, but the family cannot afford to send her. That starts Pa thinking of ways to raise money, and in the process brings up new trouble and a new adventure. Eventually everything hinges on Pa winning a harness race with a horse that is past her prime as a trotter.
Even if it were not known that Director Charles Barton and some of the writers had worked with Abbott and Costello, the change in the feel of the jokes is obvious. Crowbar and Geoduck definitely play a scene that has A&C written all over it, and even make reference to them. Ma and Pa even change a little bit. In the previous movies Ma was grounded as a real person with some depth to her character. There is only one good, but brief, scene in which Ma shows some sincere feelings with Rosie as they talk about Pa. The majority of the time they are on screen, Ma and Pa are purely there for comedy. Near the end of the movie Ma makes a decision that again shows her to be a conscientious and caring person, but that is quickly followed by even more comedy.
After five movies together, Ma and Pa were going strong without a slump.