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Awesome: 11.76%
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2 reviews, 22 user ratings

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by Jack Sommersby

"More Like a"
2 stars

Veteran Blake Edwards has certainly made his share of workable comedies, but this, alas, is far from those.

Before his first leading-man role as piano-playing, musical genius George Webber in writer/director Blake Edwards's woeful romantic comedy "10", Dudley Moore made a simply bravura impression just one year prior as a disco-loving, single-bars swinger in the comedy-thriller Foul Play, which was no small feat, mind you, being that Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase were the stars and contributed perfectly fine work. And he just about turned everything on its head -- his inspired zaniness upped the energy level so high that the movie never really recaptured the joie de vivre Moore spectacularly gave off. So it's all the more disappointing seeing him strain here for not particularly difficult effects in what's not a particularly demanding role. George would appear to have a perfectly satisfying life: he's rich, he's famous, he loves his profession, and he has many friends who love him so, especially Samantha Taylor (Julie Andrews), a famous artist herself (an opera singer) who he's been in a relationship with for three years. But his surprise forty-second birthday party shakes something up that's been gradually eating away at him: his obsession with youth and the yearning to be loved by an exciting, beautiful young woman. Samantha is just four years younger than George and certainly isn't unattractive, but she's more intellectual than emotional, and when they're reading atop of the bed covers and she asks if they're going to make love, it's in a verbal tone usually associated with a boss dictating letters to his secretary. So it's not really surprising to find that George has a penchant for spying on wild orgies at a neighbor's house with his trusty telescope; and it's also not surprising that Samantha is repulsed by it. She's a priss, all right, and so stereotypically so that we can't really blame George for yearning for someone more lively; it also doesn't help that Andrews, a stiff and humorless actress, is at a considerable disadvantage of lacking the imagination and variety to expressively convey inexpressiveness. We're supposed to see that George can't see that in Samantha there's the bedrock of a solid, nurturing relationship, but Edwards wants to have it both ways in presenting her as a fuddy duddy yet a solace of worthy stability at the same time. Already, before the story's catalyst even takes its turn, something central to the story already feels off. And do we really need the two characters of George's caring manager and George's psychiatrist imparting stale insight to him that we've already been able to easily gleam for ourselves? Edwards doesn't display much trust either in his central character or us, much less himself.

When the catalyst does arrive, it's in the form of a drop-dead gorgeous woman (played by Bo Derek in her film debut) whom George has brief eye contact with at a stoplight right after checking out some young female joggers, though there's a catch: in the backseat of a limo, she's in a wedding dress on the way to the chapel. Utterly transfixed, he follows her there and then (lamely) crashes into a police car right outside and bumbles around for his license (which is right out of Annie Hall), and then sneaks inside and watches from the back where he (even lamer) knocks over something, causing a brief stir, and then (lamer still) gets stung on the nose by a bee nesting in the wedding flowers, causing a brief commotion. (George later relays this to his shrink, rating her an "11" on the 1-to-10 scale.) Obsessed and determined to find her after a serious spat with Samantha, George goes to the see the priest who married them, resulting in a crushingly unfunny scene with the priest singing a godawful tune on his piano to impress him and a senile old maid who can barely walk upright and spills the tea tray; and then to the woman's dentist father who tells him she's honeymooning in Mexico and then treating George's six cavities, resulting in equally funny bits with his Novocained-mouthed self dribbling coffee down his chin and falling down his backyard cliff from mixing pain pills with alcohol. (Did Edwards actually think crap like this up or did he pluck them out of the moldiest jar in the pantry?) Eventually, George does make his way down to the Mexico resort where his dreamboat, Jenny, is staying. With the husband around, George takes to some heavy-drinking episodes at the outside hotel bar while ogling Jenny on the dance floor and on the beach. This, of course, leads to many drunken rants with the advice-giving bartender, and another array of misadventures ranging from hot beach sand, a passed-out surfer on his board drifting out to sea, and even a shark with the fakest-looking fin since Jaws 3-D. Eventually, George makes contact with Jenny with about thirty minutes to go in the running time, and, to give Edwards due credit, it's not rushed and is surprisingly nonexploitive being that a decent deal of sexuality and nudity come into play. Completely different in tone than a previous episode where the whacked-out-on-meds George tries to let loose at a briefly-attended orgy, we're finally afforded a revealing reading on Jenny, who's not quite who either George or us have come to expect. It also helps that Derek gives her uninhibited, freewheeling, flower-child-like character an aura of enticing dreaminess that's positively enchanting.

Excepting this final-fourth, where Edwards seems to have actually thought things through (it were as if he just didn't give a damn about the previous goings-on and regarded them as mere filler material to arrive at the film's crux), much of the rest is flat-footed and poorly staged. There's neither any acute build-up nor deft timing to the gags; they're just thrust upon us with sledgehammer-like finesse. The cinematography is unaccountably muggy: Malibu looks like the most sun-starved part of New Jersey; and even during the Mexico episodes there's not a smidgen of visual lushness. Overall, it's a very substandard production with Edwards trying his mightiest to be "doing" something no matter how infantile to sustain interest, like in having George driven to the hotel by a speeding taxi and then driven to his room by a careening golf cart. And when the comedic aspects aren't being butchered, Edwards indulges in the same low-grade brand of half-ass moralizing that also infected his stodgy The Man Who Loved Women (where Andrews again played the preferable woman of "respectability"); for the umpteenth time, we have to be lectured that love with an unsexy woman of substance is preferable to that of libidinously carnal relations with a sexy woman of vapidity. (It may be true, but so is vegetables are good for you, and we don't hanker for a feature-length film ramming that lesson down our throats.) Where's the same director who brought inspired zaniness to some of the Pink Panther series, snap and precision to the 1930s-set musical farce Victor Victoria, good-natured raunchiness to the Hollywood satire S.O.B., textured craftsmanship to the western The Wild Rovers, delicious color schemas to the Laurel & Hardy-inspired A Fine Mess, and brilliant staging to the extraordinary Blind Date? Much too often here, Edwards is working on autopilot without much interest in bringing something out of his own material that would justify it being given cinematic treatment. So it's like a real breath of fresh air when Brian Dennehy, as the bartender, and Dee Wallace, as a failed one-night-stand of George's, are on-screen -- their excellence, like Derek's, temporarily makes us feel like we're at a real movie. As for Dudley Moore, he doesn't appear particularly comfortable or really into what he's doing with little to no comic flair (which was just the opposite case with his and Edwards's uproarious and emotionally rich Micki & Maude). He's chosen to give such an internalized performance that's so underscaled it clashes with the broad gags Edwards has devised; and when he first spies Jenny, his eyes don't even light up. With virtually all the lifeforce joylessly drained from the character, in this case Moore is most definitely less.

With a perfectly respectable $5,000/per-screen average its opening weekend, it was a considerable box-office success. And the widescreen DVD looks eons better than the non-letterboxed LaserDisc back in the day that was rock-bottom atrocious.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=1911&reviewer=327
originally posted: 09/19/10 17:53:52
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User Comments

2/08/17 Louise It's fun but I don't buy Andrews as a girlfriend. Looks rather dated too. 3 stars
1/27/11 Josie Cotton is a goddess Hit and miss sex comedy that I expected to be better 3 stars
1/23/11 bill norris nice run down the beach 3 stars
9/21/10 Ronald Holst The Best thing about this Movie Is Bo Derrick 4 stars
8/12/06 Sepi53 5 star to Bo Derek 5 stars
7/25/05 Eric Rollins I remember this as being funny in 1980. Must have been the weed. 3 stars
5/18/05 Cindy Sheeks Parts were funny. Parts REALLY bugged me. 3 stars
5/05/05 Mind Junkie Just a non X-rated man flick 1 stars
4/19/05 Chris Stephens OK movie 3 stars
5/22/04 John one of Blake Edward's best - funny and charming as all hell 5 stars
10/01/03 Alice Good movie, very funny at times 4 stars
12/14/02 Steve Still hilarious after all these years. IDed with Bo, but really a great comedy. 5 stars
10/16/02 Charles Tatum "10" is like Bo Derek, okay to glance at, but not that entertaining 2 stars
4/27/02 Butterbean Sorry, but I never "got" Dudley Moore as a comedian, but he was good here. 4 stars
3/27/02 Natalie Stonecipher One of great performances of the great Dudley Moore. In Loving Memory. 5 stars
3/07/02 Mo Anand too much hype...too little consistency 3 stars
6/25/01 R.W. Welch Funny enough to put Moore on the map, however briefly. 4 stars
11/28/00 Cristopher Revilla it's not great, its just another wannabe porn flick, thats all 3 stars
7/04/99 J-Dogg Liked the cleavage, that's about it. 3 stars
4/10/99 Michael Grimm Bo Derek!! What else can I say 4 stars
4/06/99 Cool Thing A decent movie, but way too 70's to handle viewing today. 4 stars
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  02-Jul-1979 (R)


  02-Feb-1980 (M)

Directed by
  Blake Edwards

Written by
  Blake Edwards

  Dudley Moore
  Julie Andrews
  Bo Derek
  Robert Webber
  Dee Wallace-Stone
  Brian Dennehy

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