17 December 2001 | tom.hamilton
Having always loved his knockout performance as the egoticstical producer in "The Band Wagon" and being familiar with his recordings I watched this latterday Jack Buchanan movie with great expectation. A parody of the Johnny Ray type celebrity it's based on a long running stage show that also starred Buchanan. The idea itself isn't bad and with the right handling it could've been a British equivelent of "The Girl Can't Help it" (it even features Britain's own blond bombshell - Diana Dors, in a cameo) But the satire is limp, and J Lee Thompson is far more at home in gritty thrillers than froth like this. What we end up with is a silly (in the annoying sense) witless piece typical of the mediocre stuff Rank was churning out in the 50's.
The film is dominated by constant mugging and bad performances (the teeth grindingly unfunny psychiatrist rates special mention) clumsy slapstick (Joan Sims repeatedly swooning whenever she sees the singer, Buchanan falling into a fish pool, or falling onto a trampoline, or repeatedly getting his hat pressed down over his eyes etc.) This might sound mildly amusing and maybe it was back in the 50's but now the whole thing is so predictable and laboured, with most gags being repeated ad nauseum that the only reaction is to groan. Furthermore it's a musical of sorts and our (minimal) enjoyment is dampened by some tedious songs. Of these only "Cry" hit's the mark being exactly the type of song Johnny Ray would've sung and this provides the sole amusing scene in the film when a slightly drunk Buchanan decides to have a crack. Apparently this was a real show stopper on stage. Here it's a brief chance for Buchanan to shine and he milks it for all it's worth.
By the last 5 minutes I was longing to fast forward this particular turkey when out of the blue the film gave us a few minutes of vintage Jack, in a brief song and dance number after all the plot points were been resolved.
If the whole movie had been like this few minutes of good humoured hoofing from a guy who knew how, then it would've been a very pleasant experience indeed. Unfortunately it isn't and although everyone tries hard (too hard) it's a laboured piece and unworthy of it's star.