Each Monday I’m going to be blogging about a romantic comedy chosen by The Popcorn Dialogues. Read more – and my opinion on the first film – here. (And I’d love you to watch along, if you’d like to.)
I’ve tried to watch Bringing Up Baby twice before and failed both times. I wanted to like it because – duh – Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn, but I found it just so very irritating. But I vowed to watch it again, along with The Popcorn Dialogues. So I did. And I found it very irritating.
Why? Well I think the first problem is perhaps that Hepburn and Grant both have quite annoyingly mannered voices. David came in at one point and said, “Why is she talking like THAT?!” (he’s not a fan of old movies). I told him it was her real voice and a few minutes later he said, “I don’t care if it is her real voice, it’s really annoying.” The movie is a farce, so the two main characters are frequently talking at the same time, over the top of one another, and, god, my ears. I actually shouted, “Shut up!” at the screen at one point.
CONTAINS SPOILERS SO IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW HOW THIS MOVIE ENDS (ALTHOUGH SURELY YOU CAN GUESS SINCE IT’S A ROMANTIC COMEDY) THEN DON’T READ ON.
That aside, Hepburn and Grant are both so charming and funny and have great chemistry, but the romance doesn’t work AT ALL. From the very first, Hepburn’s character, Susan Vance, is a nightmare. She tries to move David’s (Grant’s character, not my husband) car and crashes it into a tree and another car and is not in the slightest bit concerned or apologetic. That’s got nothing on what she does at the end though, which really set my nerves on edge. So, yes, Susan’s a nightmare and David’s a terrible wimp. I don’t mind a wimp in life or in movies, but David takes it too far. He actually faints at one point. Mmm. Sexy.
The other problem with the romance is that it’s entirely told rather than shown, which if you’ve read any writing advice at all you’ll know is a big no-no. Early in the movie when Susan seems to just be messing with David because he’s uptight and she’s bored (and annoying), she suddenly shrieks “He’s the only man I’ve ever loved!” “Oh you don’t even know him!” I tutted at the screen. In the final scene, Susan turns up at David’s work and he is no warmer towards her, seems no more pleased to see her, than he did at the very beginning. In fact, he tells her that he’s scared of her (unsurprisingly – cos, you know, she’s a nightmare and he’s a wimp). Then, apropos of nothing, he suddenly says something like, “I’ve just realised that day with you was the best day of my life!” Like he’s literally just realised it. When he read it in the script. Phooey.
It’s definitely funny. It made me laugh out loud once or twice, which is more than It Happened One Night Did (although, don’t get me wrong, I MUCH prefer that movie), but it’s a farce and so it’s more stupid than funny. I just couldn’t suspend disbelief for the full running time. From about the halfway point, I was irritated and, for the last half an hour, bored.
I’d like to give it two and a half pops because two pops (this movie has a couple of great moments but in general is seriously flawed and therefore not worth losing minutes of your life to watch) seems harsh, but three pops (this movie is okay, you could do worse) is a bit too unspecific.
Next week: Ninotchka