Don't Worry, We'll Think of a Title Jun 30, 2016 15:08:12 GMT -5
Post by StevePulaski on Jun 30, 2016 15:08:12 GMT -5
Don't Worry, We'll Think of a Title (1966)
Directed by: Harmon Jones
Directed by: Harmon Jones
Rose Marie and Morey Amsterdam in Don't Worry, We'll Think of a Title.
Don't Worry, We'll Think of a Title is a nice example that shows why exactly screwball comedy and vaudeville film fell off in popularity after the 1950s only to become all-but extinct after the mid-1960s. It was a genre that simply couldn't compete anymore, especially with "New Hollywood" right around the corner and comedies of the era (The Odd Couple, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, World) that actually emphasized quality screenwriting and situational humor.
Don't Worry, We'll Think of a Title is as frantic as you can imagine a stressed out, sleep-deprived screenwriter foaming at the mouth sputtering that very phrase upon writing a film so messy and plotless that perhaps it was only right to assign that blanket statement to the film as its official title. Its "saving grace," if you can call it that, is its abundance of recognizable cameos of the era, despite their presence essentially giving the impression that the filmmakers and studio knew they had such a dud on their hands that the only way they could potentially make this drearily unfunny material salvageable was to infest it with cameos from the likes of The Three Stooges' Moe Howard, Steve Allen, and Carl Reiner. This is a film so dead-on-arrival it needs life support to function in the most basic sense.
Notable for having a great deal of castmembers from The Dick Van Dyke Show, the film focuses on Charlie Yuckapuck (Morey Amsterdam), a bumbling short order cook, and Annie (Rose Marie), a waitress, who both work at a shabby diner. Their dull lives, which are usually perceived as less-so by the constant joking and jabbing the diner employees take at one another, are given a bit more excitement, however, when the officers arrive at the diner one day under the impression that Charlie is really a Soviet cosmonaut named Yasha Nudnik. A large spy-ring is set in place by a man named Mr. Big (Jack Heller), who hires a lawyer (Moe Howard) to get another waitress (January Jones) at the diner to believe she's inherited a bookstore, prompting Charlie and Annie to go work for her.
When Charlie and Annie discover they are in danger and under constant surveillance, it's too late, with the only option to outrun arresting officers and try to find a sanctuary where they can hide out.
Nearly every line in Don't Worry, We'll Think of a Title is a punchline, a quip, or some kind of zinger, ostensibly written with incorruptible optimism by four (!) screenwriters that if the audience continues to laugh or smile, they will feel as if they've seen a good movie. While the occasional line in the film does shockingly evoke humor, no line is funny enough to mask the real messiness of the film's premise nor its reliance on needless cameo characters that just exist to muddy the picture. Above anything, this is a film that needed some sort of screenwriting and directorial cohesion.
Even a trope as common as dance numbers have been known to take a mediocre film up to the level of an average one (see the Gene Kelly/Frank Sinatra comedy Take Me Out to the Ball Game for proof), and Don't Worry might've even been benefited by the inclusion of some skillfully choreographed and amusing dance sequences. Perhaps it would've even been a bit ironic given the artificial sets and the already zany premise, but it would've at least prompted something far more interesting than characters running around, all in a hurry to go nowhere due to a sterile screenplay. There are films that don't live up to their true comedic potential, but then there are films like Don't Worry, Well Think of a Title that are an affront to their own comedic potential, as low as it already was.
Starring: Morey Amsterdam, Rose Marie, Richard Deacon, Jack Heller, January Jones, Moe Howard, Steve Allen, and Carl Reiner. Directed by: Harmon Jones.