16 January 2003 | Poseidon-3
A Tunnel to Stupidity
Viewers who saw this film in theaters when it opened must have needed sunglasses during the opening credits! While Day sings the corny title tune (augmented by a funny echo effect at an appropriate time) the camera closes in on her and Widmark's faces while driving. Day is bright enough already, but tan Widmark smiles and out comes a huge row of startling white teeth that smear the screen with light! Maybe it's just unusual to see this actor so happy as he's definitely out of his element here. The pair play a couple who are knee-deep in plans to adopt a baby, but don't find it so easy. Eventually, through some dumb plot contrivances, Widmark thinks he has fathered a baby outside his marriage and it causes even more plot contrivances and mayhem. Widmark does the best he can in this new genre for him and Day is always interesting, but they're affected by this subpar material. Young is a breath of amusement as a carousing next door neighbor who already has a few kids and whose wife (Fraser) is continually pregnant. Amusing as he is, his attitudes are not particularly admirable. Fraser clocks a lot of screen time but has little to work with and suffers from inconsistent pregnancy pillows. (She does get to wear one show-stopping gown at a party.) Lovely Scala appears as an adoption agent, but her role is mostly decorative and at times insulting (to her.) Tedium builds and several annoying and unreal situational comedy moments ensue with only a smattering of laughs nestled in. Fortunately, the underused and always welcome Wilson shows up as another adoption agent and puts a tad more life back into the picture. One surprising thing about this movie is the level of language, subject matter and entendre present for its time. A lot of the early dialogue is pretty frank and suggestive for 1958, but these sophisticated traits are undone by leering, unfunny gags and a lot of inane character choices. The whole thing (aside from the credits) is filmed inside on a stage and it shows. Kelly does not display any mastery of the camera (there's no one dancing in front of it to hold our attention this time, Gene), nor does the story hang together in terms of character development. One minute Widmark is lovingly devoted to Day, the next he's off with another woman. Nothing in this film is ever fully proved or discussed, either. It's all a bunch of drawn conclusions. Only people who want to see Widmark in a comedy or see him smile (which he doesn't really do again after the titles roll) and devout fans of Day or Young will want to sit through this.