Thursday, October 14, 2010

Spanish Fly

(Bob Kellett, 1976)
With its sunny seaside setting, its structural dependence upon four stunning if barely characterized fashion models, its general orientation toward high-living decadence, and its generously funded un-Canadianness, this is dangerously close to filmmaking as paid vacation. Only Terry-Thomas, doing a highly lived-in but still charming shtick as a pretender to upper-class twithood, suggests anything close to actual comic craft. His scenes with beleaguered servant Graham Armitage keep a happy arm's length from the innocuously smutty hijinks that dominate, although whenever he wanders off Armitage is grabbing some poor woman's ass in less than charming fashion, and Thomas himself feeds the beast with his aphrodisiac plonk-marketing strategy. The counterplot, concerning Leslie Phillips' horny henpecked husband, provokes not one thin smile, strip mining the most familiar and least charming of British comedy traditions. And even if you like this kind of thing, you're likely to get impatient with the long, formless scenes of extras dancing around and kids with butterfly nets.

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