Monday, August 2, 2010

Micki + Maude

Micki + Maude; Comedy, USA, 1984; D: Blake Edwards, S: Dudley Moore, Amy Irving, Ann Reinking, Richard Mulligan, George Gaynes, Wallace Shawn

TV reporter Rob Salinger eagerly wants to have kids, but his busy wife Micki postpones his planes again in order to pursue her career and become a judge. Feeling distant from her since she spends much more time working than with him, Rob makes a report about cellist Maude and falls in love with her. Just as he is about to tell Micki about the divorce, he finds out she is pregnant and might lose the baby if she gets upset, so he doesn’t say anything. Never the less, he still marries Maude after he finds out she is pregnant too. He leads a double life between them until they find out when they give birth in the same hospital. Even though they said they don’t want to see him ever again, Micki and Maude change their mind and have even more kids with him.

An unusual comedy about polygamy, “Micki + Maude” is a mixed bag that crams too many disjointed elements into one, yet it is an easily watchable fun mostly due to the skills of the “master of comedy”, director Blake Edwards, and his main actor, the excellent Dudley Moore, who even won a Golden Globe as best actor in a motion picture – musical or comedy. This film almost seems like a tamer, gentler version of their previous comedy “10” with a different direction of the story, though it is bloated by some flaws: it takes 30 minutes until the film gets started, the plot seems contrived since it is difficult to buy that Rob would simply stay in a relationship with two women for so long until it becomes too late when they both get pregnant, nor is it that realistic that he could spend 10 hours of his life with both of them and still somehow manage not to lose his job, whereas the film avoids to resolve the issue by presenting a rather open ending. Still, as a whole, it is a surprisingly fluent comedy that has much less irritating moments than expected, though the sequence of the double labor in the birth clinic really tends to get annoying by reaching too often for cheap and convulsive jokes. As a light fun, the film has at least four great jokes, one being when Rob meets Maude’s father, a wrestler who knocks off the judge during a match to finish off his opponent, and the other the fantastic popcorn fight: such a sequence where Ron and Maude are watching monsters fighting in “The 7th Voyage of Sinbad” on TV, he takes a popcorn from her bowl upon which she makes a “monstrous” howl and shows her teeth from her lower jaw, he does the same, she throws popcorn on him and he howls and surprises her by “improvising” spitting a popcorn out on her face, is something that reaches poetic humor.


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