25 August 2009 | federovsky
The comic style of this film is reflected in Jack Lemmon's cartoons; in fact, he creates his comic-strip character, Brash Brannigan, in his own likeness and then tries to influence his own life by changing Brash's. A brilliant narrative trick.
The last time I saw this, adult life lay ahead like a kind of exam. Orange juice in the shower, and beautiful blonds popping out of cakes seemed to be the goal. This film was like a comedic case study in lifestyle management, a blueprint to be stored away - just in case. I liked all the ideas here: the perfect bachelor life, waking up and finding yourself married, the club where you can't be reached - and it's still likable.
Lemmon shows terrific timing with his rapid use of language and gesture that has an amazing flexibility to it - as a technique that is surely unique to him. Terry-Thomas is splendid and quite solid in contrast. Of course we scoff at the idea of a cartoonist living in a townhouse in the middle of Manhatten with a butler, but that's a metaphor for the end of the old days.
The Brash Brannigan shenanigans at the beginning were a little overdone though, and the courtroom scene near the end is more than preposterous - it's post-posterous; the whole murder trial device is weakened by the fact that we know what actually happened - much better if there'd been some doubt in our minds also as to whether he had killed his wife - hard to understand how George Axelrod's script missed that obvious point.
Still, the humour tootles along nicely: the gloppita-gloppita machine; the goofballs that make your wife dance on the table - Brrrrrrrrrrp! - and then collapse - Blapppp!; delicious Virna Lisi; and those in-your-dreams lifestyle tips - it's like re-reading an old favourite comic strip.