19 August 2017 | moonspinner55
Bummin' and thumbin'
Hillbilly comedy casts Glen Campbell as Norwood, a U.S. Marine returned home from service, who finds life changed--and not for the better--in his Texas hometown. He has his sights on playing guitar and singing country music for a program called the Louisiana Hayride, and travels cross-country to New York City for an audition (this section of the movie, with Norwood in a cowboy hat walking the big city streets, feels like a G-rated version of "Midnight Cowboy"). The details in this scrubbed-clean scenario aren't rich and the characters Norwood meets on his journey aren't vividly drawn. Feature film debut for director Jack Haley, Jr. has warmth and a big heart, but no substance. Campbell keeps his face slack (like a rube) and his manners polite, and he's appealing if fidgety. Producer Hal B. Wallis reunites Campbell with his "True Grit" co-star Kim Darby, and the two have a warm rapport (especially in the scene at the food counter). Football star Joe Namath makes his acting debut as a soldier, Billy Curtis is fun as a little person who becomes Norwood's traveling companion, and there's also a college-educated chicken (don't ask). Adapted from a novel by Charles Portis (the author of "True Grit") by "True Grit"'s screenwriter, Marguerite Roberts; however, there's nothing gritty about this yokel fantasy, which is completely out-of-touch with reality and presented only as escapist fare. ** from ****