For Reel


It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963)
December 24, 2015, 12:14 am
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Stanley Kramer
2 Stars
It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad WorldIt’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World is remembered for its sheer extravagance, complimenting its bloated budget with an all-star cast and a three-plus-hour running time. As such, it exists now as a relic of an era of comedy gone by, involving a parade of television stars like Sid Cesar, Milton Berle, and Phil Silvers trying their best hand at an old-fashioned brand of slapstick comedy. But, as an introduction to any of these personalities or even mid-century comedy, the film is an utter failure. If the picture plays to the strong suits of Silvers as a mugging, snarky parasite, the rest of the cast is nearly interchangeable. Worse yet, not only are Stanley Kramer’s comic situations poorly conceived– sometimes the jokes are underlined excessively, other times we’re not sure if the punchline has occurred–the cross-cutting between subplots means that each sequence plays for an interminable length. If you don’t find a pair of comedians locked in a room particularly funny, prepare to watch the situation played out in short doses over an hour without a satisfying payoff. Some of the bizarro sequences are worth mentioning–Jonathan Winters’ takedown of a gas station, the introduction of Dick Shawn and the hilariously stone-faced Barrie Chase dancing in her underwear–however they serve as brief interludes that mercifully break up the monotony of ceaseless screams and double-takes.

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