Thursday, February 20, 2014

Smile (1975)

Synopsis: Empty, hypocritical, selfish and shallow middle-aged turds find meaning in their lives... by judging a collection of empty, hypocritical, selfish and shallow teenage girls.

Blurb From the VHS Jacket: “What really happens in the beauty pageant dressing rooms? Find out when Melanie Griffith (Best Actress nominee, Working Girl, 1988) struts her stuff in this darkly funny comedy set in the behind-the scenes world of one of America’s most popular pastimes.”

What Did I Learn?: Guys, if the requirement for joining the local small-town men’s club is to kiss the ass of a dead chicken (stuffed with what I hope was whipped cream), you’re much, much better off to ditch those losers and make some new friends.

You Might Like This Movie If: You agree that it's best to Keep Smiling...

Really?: 1) See “What Did I Learn?”... I’m still creeped out by the scene. 2) Smile is a biting satire of 1970s middle class America, so I can overlook a number of things (Andy shooting his wife, and she refuses to press charges because she’s concerned it could impact the pageant, for instance) but holy shit – this is NOT a Melanie Griffith movie! (See “Blurb From the VHS Jacket”) She has a few scenes as one of the contestants, but that’s it. Barbara Feldon (best remembered as Agent 99 on Get Smart) should have received second billing on the VHS jacket.

Rating: Directed by Michael Ritchie, Smile is a cleverly-written (although only sometimes-funny) darkly comic look at the world of small-time beauty pageants. Bruce Dern is wonderfully oily as Big Bob, and it’s great to see Feldon, who pretty much disappeared after Get Smart. Smile drags in places, and the script could have used some fine-tuning, but it’s a nice companion film to Little Miss Sunshine. 7/10 stars.

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