William Powell, Carole Lombard, Gail Patrick, Alice Brady, Eugene Pallette
Godfrey: My purpose in coming here tonight was two fold. Firstly, I wanted to aid this young lady. Secondly, I was curious to see how a bunch of empty headed nitwits conducted themselves. My curiosity is satisfied. I assure you it will be a pleasure for me to go back to a society of really important people.
Angelica: What did he call us?
Angelica: What are they?
Man: I don’t know.
Other Man in Crowd: That man is perfect! I’ve been wanting to say that all night and didn’t have the nerve!
In order to win a scavenger hunt, Irene (Lombard) and her sister, Cornelia (Patrick), go to the city dump to find a “forgotten man” – aka homeless person – and bring him back to their big party. Cornelia fails, but Irene succeeds in bringing Godfrey (Powell) back. After she wins the scavenger hunt, she feels she owes Godfrey, so she offers him a job as their new family butler.
This is the second movie I’ve seen with Carole Lombard, and, even though she’s playing a more annoying character this time around, she was pretty hilarious once again. Her character, Irene, and the rest of the family, is mostly crazy, but I was glad to see that the movie rarely lapsed into slapstick comedy. Well, other than the part where Carlo (Mischa Auer) imitates a gorilla and jumps around the room. But that worked too because it was meant to demonstrate to Godfrey – and the audience – just how bizarre this family truly is.
The other actors all do a good job, though Alice Brady is a little over the top as the dimwitted mother, Angelica. I liked Gail Patrick as Cornelia because she tries to act calm, collected, and witty while also demonstrating some of the family’s bizarreness.
While I’m not sure I bought that a 20-something year old rich girl would fall so instantly in love with an older homeless man turned butler, I did think that Irene and Godfrey’s scenes together were enjoyable. It’s funny watching her make him so uncomfortable.
There might be a couple of other unbelievable elements to the story as well, but I won’t get into those since I’d be revealing too much about the story. Not that believability really matters that much in a comedy like this.
To sum up: it’s funny, mostly likable, and only too silly (and slightly annoying) just a few times. Plus, there’s Carole Lombard, so it’s totally worth seeing.
Sometimes you gotta hit rock bottom before you can work your way to the top again.
10 – .2 because I have to take something off for the believability factor – 1 for a few annoying parts where Irene is having one of her crying fits – .7 for a couple lapses into silliness = 8.1