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S.O.B.

14 Jan

S.O.B. – directed + by Blake Edwards – lowbrow comedy about a Hollywood director frantic to revive his career – 121 minutes color 1981

**

Vulgarity is wonderful – if enforced by the gusto of a grand internal energy – Wallace Beery as Falstaff. But if the internal energy is flaccid, as it is with Blake Edwards, we are served mere coarseness, which is what this director dishes up. Vulgarity without the sauce. This extends to the director in the film asking his wife, a goody-two-shoes superstar like Julie Andrews to expose her bubbies for the camera. In this case, the actual star is Julie Andrews, and the actual director Blake Edwards is her actual husband, and the bubbies are actually hers,  and in the film she actually does deliver them to us, and actually very nice bubbies they are too. The film is meant to be a mockery of Hollywood behind-the-scenes, but it is technically impossible to mock that which is already a mockery, which is to freshen a heifer already with calf. The thing cannot be done. A redundancy so perfect it is indistinguishable from the original and impotent. What Edwards does have to back him up is the very real energy of very real talents – Robert Webber as the franticly fearful press agent, Loretta Swit as an egomaniacal gossip columnist, and the mighty Robert Preston as a feel-good doctor needling everybody in the rump. The picture would have been much better with him in the leading role, for he is splendid, is he not, as a sort of Ur-male, like Burt Lancaster which only the movies could body forth without wrecking every car on the highway. As to the rest: lift up your nose, pinch it, and turn away.

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