I like musicals all right. I used to take them literally and complain to Rick, one of the owners of Emerald Video in Isla Vista, “I don’t get it. Nobody ever just bursts into song like that.” To which he responded, “Of course not. It’s a scene where they decide to show an emotion that’s best expressed through song.” Of course. he was right. But I still declared him insane and stormed out of the store without clocking out.
Just like regular movies, some musicals are good. Some are bad. This one is somewhere in between. I like the scenario, and a young Harry Morgan is terrific as a fair arcade proprietor. Dana Carvey Andrews plays a reporter. And Jeanne Crain sings a lot about wanting to fall in love. The songs are okay, but the real show stopper comes near the end when Vivian Blaine (and pretty much the whole cast) sings “All I Owe Ioway.”
Interestingly, the subtitle file I was working from just spelled it IOWA through the whole song. I changed it all to IOWAY. Sure, it’s not how Iowans spell it, but that’s the actual song. And it’s more genius from lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II, who’s responsible for the tongue-twisting lyrics of “The Lonely Goatherd” and “Do Re Mi” from The Sound of Music. Witness:
Oh, I know all I owe I owe Ioway,
I owe Ioway all I owe and I know why
I’d love to have watched Hammerstein work. Man, just laughing non-stop, reaching for more mushrooms and laughing some more.
The original had a cast of interesting voice actors, like Adam Samberg, Cheryl Hines and Jeff Daniels. I didn’t see it, either. I had to look it up. This sequel is one of those dirt-cheap, cynical affairs that aims low and falls even lower. It tries so hard to be fun and quirky, but without a solid narrative structure or real dilemmas for its paper-thin characters, there’s nothing at all going on here.
Unless you count Kilowatt, the alien character retrieved by our protagonist, Comet, in a huge out and back journey that has exactly nothing to do with the central conflict. Kilowatt is a victim of what I call “forced-cute” design. He (she?) might have seemed cute in theory, but without the raw talent necessary to pull off that kind of design, he just looks like an engorged tick.
People often criticize the plausibility of action movies, shaking their heads in disbelief as, for example, Geena Davis and Sam Jackson sprint down a hallway to outrun a grenade blast. Poor people. They just don’t know.
It’s all real, folks. Take the bus jump sequence from Speed. A bus, rigged with a bomb, has to jump a 50-foot gap on the 105 freeway (remember when that was under construction? I’ve still only ever driven it once.) Totally impossible, right?
Wrong. Watch the sequence below. What the doubters just don’t understand is that a bus CAN clear that gap, no ramp necessary. How? It floats on the power of music. Mark Mancina’s score literally lifts it up by the wheel wells like a crane and drops it on the other side.
A young Dean Stockwell and an old Trevor Howard. I plowed through this one pretty quickly. The dialogue is structured and proper, so it made for smooth subtitling. The whole time I worked on it, I couldn’t help but think about how different Stockwell’s role in this was compared to, uh, Beverly Hills Cop 2.
Then Jinx and I went on a long walk. She only barked one a couple people.
Did you know that Liesl and her father were attracted to each other? All right, I mean Chamian Carr and Christopher Plummer, who was more than ten years her senior at the time? Actually, I don’t even know if that’s true. I got that from IMDb, but they’ve been known to be wrong (witness: No perfect 10 rating for Secret Admirer.) I haven’t seen this one in a while, but when I was a child, I knew the soundtrack backwards and forwards. Didn’t help me when it came to subtitling some of those lyrics: