“What’s Up, Doc?” The movie that taught me the meaning of propriety

There is no greater challenge in the film industry than making a truly great screw-ball comedy; a truth that has become evident by the tragically un-funny Scary/Date/Disaster movie franchises. Comedy in itself is difficult to make relateable to a large scale audience, let alone putting humorous settings and situations into narrative film and making it work well. But once in a great while something comes along that becomes iconic. What’s Up, Doc? manages to be one of the funniest while at the same time one of the most nonsensical movies to grace the big screen. It is filled to the brim with jokes, slap-stick humor and deadpan performances that all hit the right notes at the right time.

Necessity dictates that the movie have a plot, so a story is presented that allows all the jokes and quirks of the movie to huddle around one focal point. Howard Bannister (Ryan O’Neal) is competing for a grant which will allow him to continue his study of primitive musical rocks. Staying in the same hotel as Howard Bannister and his Fiance Eunice, is a woman who has millions of dollars worth of jewelry and a man with top secret government documents. Naturally the jewelry, documents and musical rocks are all in identical red plaid bags. Judy Maxwell (Barbara Streisand) is a strange woman that seems to be constantly pursued by trouble, and who herself seems to constantly pursue Howard, in the midst of the biggest step towards the career of his dreams. She appears almost out of nowhere and walks with no hesitation into the lives of this unsuspecting couple.

If the plot seems confusing then you’ve got the right idea. It’s one joke after another. visual gags, verbal quips and hilariously elaborate chase scenes permeate with perfect timing and hit just the right chords. It’s a risky business, comedy, but with an excellent cast that caries the jokes with expert precision we’re given a real treat. there is such a vast amount of character in this film, it doesn’t just showcase the quirkiness and humor of one or two characters, but the entire cast is hilarious. Madeline Kahn plays Eunice, Howard’s very reasonable fiance who is constantly cast into very unreasonable situations. The culmination of the film ends in a spectacular car chase that has yet to be matched in any other film.

This movie has one goal, to make the audience laugh. Since 1972 it has done just that, provided a hilarious movie that can be enjoyed by all ages. It’s a fun throwback to the days of It Happened On Night and His Girl Friday, when movies made you laugh and could be watched over and over. It should be the standard that others in this strange little genre should hold themselves against.

2 comments on ““What’s Up, Doc?” The movie that taught me the meaning of propriety

  1. “How much is it without bufferin?”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s