Saturday, October 31, 2009

Mr. Blandings Builds his Dream House (1948): 6.7/10

Mr. Blandings Builds his Dream House (1948): 6.7/10

The reason this film worked for me was because of the actors. I wanted to love this and I thin ksomeday I possibly could but for now I have to admit I had a few issues with it. What were these issues? Let me explain:

The first reason that some of this movie bothered me has to do with the present ecomony. In this day and age when everyone is hard up for money, is it really that fun watching a couple who has money complain about losing some of it? What I mean is that throughout the film Jim and Muriel Blandings learn that building a house is much more expensive then they thought it would be. They find themselves unable to control the mounds of bills and the pile of problems that building a house causes. While this is all very stressful to them, they clearly are going to be ok. The fact that these extra costs are not destroying them, for me means that I really do not care about their money problems if they can afford to have money problems. Watching Muriel refuse to get rid of their FOURTH planned bathroom and insisting upon all these rooms is not funny to me; it is very annoying. Jim's little speech at the end when he freaks out and wonders how possible it is for anyone to build a house these days especially the people who are not as well off as they are is the only time that the idea that it is harder for other people is brought up. While there problems are valid, it still can be grating after a while to watch two yuppies deal with money annoyances that barely cross into the realm of legitimately dangerous money issues. Yes I know this is a comedy. I cannot help it though; it bothered me at points.

The second issue I had was that I could not for the life of me figure out the point of the subplot involving Jim suspecting Muriel and his best friend/lawyer of having an affair. I liked the Bill Cole character and I think he should have been there but the subplot felt unfinished and completely unsubstantial. It was simply a time filler and I think Bill's presence would have meant a lot more to me if he had just been a supporting character/narrator who did not need his own particular subplot.

It sounds like I hated this. I actually liked it a lot. I just wanted to get my issues with it out of the way. It is one of those harmless classic comedies that do not have an inappropriate bone in its body. I liked the fact that it was a comedy about an established married couple. It is really entertaining to watch Cary Grant and Myrna Loy act like that have been married for 15 years. It was just refreshing not to have to go through the courting phases with anyone in this movie. These two are stable and they clearly love each other. They do such a good job of showing us their relationship and how they interact with one another; it is not hard to believe that these two characters have been married for so long.

In general Cary Grant and Myrna Loy make this movie. Cary Grant is always a wonder to watch and it is hard to beat his comedic roles in my opinion. He has the greatest reaction shots out of possibly any actor who ever lived. The way he just stares after certain characters speak is just remarkable and the director is smart enough to get his talent at this and tends to keep the shots going longer than what would usually be neccesary because of it. My favorite moment in the entire film is when at breakfast one if their daughters says "You can't squeeze blood out of a turnip" and Grant just stares at her looking so completely confused. He also has these weird little noises he makes as a reactionary habit as well and these are equally entertaining to watch. It is impossible not to be taken in by Cary Grant because he was brilliant and he is excellent here.

Myrna Loy is always a joy. Did you like that rhyme? Because I did. Seriously though, she is always more emotionally in control than Grant and it is really fun to watch her calmness in every scene. She has always been able to keep up and to be an equally essential part of an on screen duo (The Thin Man series) and she does that here as well. She makes everything look so effortless.

My favorite parts included the time the film took to show us the Blandings' morning routine. I really loved the two daughters and the breakfast scenes were actually my very favorite parts of the film. Something I really liked about it as well is that it reminded me of Father of the Bride. In that film there is also an established couple and while the events they are preparing for are different, both films involve the couple going through a certain process and meeting lots of people who will assist them in some way and running into all sorts of problems, particularly money ones. I love Father of the Bride so I liked that it reminded me of that.

Overall despite some issues I had with the film I did enjoy this very a lot mainly due to Cary Grant and Myrna Loy and their on screen chemistry and legendary talent.

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