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Monday, June 2, 2008


This chamber-sized musical isn’t the usual Techni-colorful backstage bio-pic from 20th/Fox, but an imaginative & nicely observed story about a widowed father (Dan Dailey) & son (Billy Gray, the talented kid from THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL/’51) who find their well-adjusted bachelor lifestyle under libidinal attack when sexy nightclub star June Haver moves in next door. Dad’s a cartoonist, so we even get a couple of U.P.A. cartoon segments in addition to a full-fledged dream ballet. If only the execution matched the ambitious ideas, this might really be something to cheer. But the songs are boilerplate, the clever ideas aren’t properly developed and a subsidiary couple (played by Jack Benny ’s house tenor Dennis Day & Cara Williams) add little while taking time & attention away from the fear of commitment & childhood anxiety issues the script feints at digging into. Dailey is always worth watching, the only ‘big lug’ song-and-dance star, and he shares the best number (a tricky kitchen clean-up routine) with Gray. But who the hell had the idea of having the kid running around during the dream ballet and splitting up his Dad & would-be lover with a giant pencil? Did Sigmund Freud do a rewrite on this?

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