21 April 2013 | dougdoepke
A resourceful airman (Shawn) gets assigned to a forgotten island installation in the Pacific. There he puts other apathetic airmen and locals to work building a popular hotel with abandoned government materials. However, the big brass don't take kindly to his enterprise.
It's a thin service comedy at a time when service comedies were popular, e.g. Mr. Roberts (1955), Operation Madball (1957). I can't help thinking Shawn is miscast as the principal lead. Frankly, he looks a little lost, at times. As a performer, he excels at zany parts both on stage and on screen, It's a Mad, Mad World (1963), for example. But here he's used in a fairly straight role as an occasionally amusing entrepreneur, a role any number of non-comics could have handled. Also, Kovacs looks zany in his unmilitary outfits, but has no one to play off of as he did with Jack Lemmon in Madball. So he has no real routines other than shimmying down a flagpole.
It also looks like director LeRoy, a Hollywood veteran, is somewhat indifferent to the material. There's no snap to the scenes or to the editing. And I'm not sure why, since he has a number of successful comedies in his resume. It may be he didn't care for the screenplay, which is anything but tight. Instead, it stretches out in somewhat meandering fashion. Too bad also that the stellar crew of comedic supporting players—Knotts, Strauss, Kaplan, go largely unused.
All in all, the movie's an overlong disappointment, despite the talent involved.