The story of this movie is simple, and normally bankable: small town girl makes good in big city. This is a story with plenty of room for nice little twists and turns that make a movie worthwhile. However bankable the story is, the movie feels fake all the way through. Granted it’s a musical, and they’re always a little fake, but still, it’s terrible, and I can point exactly to what’s ruining it: the screenplay. Who wrote this pickle of a screenplay, anyway? Yikes! It’s just not grounded, it goes all over the place and tries to do too much. They should have used it for toilet paper instead of filming it.
It’s a shame, too, because the actors were good, and the singing was good, even great at times. Bugsby Berkeley’s choreography was surprisingly toned down, and it sort of fit in with the atmosphere of the movie. I say sort of, because Bugsby’s stuff never really fits in, it always stands out. When he steps into a movie, it changes. Thank goodness there were none of his usually outlandish dance numbers here, although I have to say the American-Indian dance was too weird. It was just insulting, and I bet it wouldn’t get done nowadays, in our more relaxed culture. What were those people thinking when they left that number in?
Things to watch for if you want to kill some time watching this movie: Janet Leigh is great all the way through, Tony Martin sings beautifully, Ann Miller is her usual self, dancing all over the place and baring her long legs as usual, and the reparte between Charles Dale and Joe Smith, as Leo and Harry, the owners of the deli, is just plain funny.