Friday, May 4, 2012

The 31 Day Movie Challenge - Day 6 - LET'S DO IT AGAIN (1975)


- Rated PG back then but would probably be rated PG-13 today for some sexual related dialogue.
- Starring Sidney Poitier, Billy Cosby, John Amos, Jimmie Walker, Ossie Davis
- Story by Timothy March;  Screenplay by Richard Wesley
- Directed by Sidney Poitier
- Running time: 1hr 52min

(The 31 Day Movie Challenge was proposed to me by fellow film critic Jessie Hoheisel (from superawesomemovieblog). We each chose 30 films for each other to review for the month of May. The first film chosen will be from 1970. The second film from 1971... and so on. The last day will be a film from 2000. I accepted the challenge!)

In the mid-70's dramatic actor Sidney Poitier and comedian Billy Cosby united to make 3 urban comedies.  This was the second one they collaborated on, but the first one I've seen.  This time the two star as Clyde (Poitier) and Billy (Cosby), a couple of normal dudes with great wives.  Everything seems to be going fine for them until they discover that their fraternal club they belong to is going to lose their building.  In order to get the money to save the building, they dress up as big time business men (looking like flashy pimps) in New Orleans.  Since Clyde is a master hypnotist (okay...), Billy devises a plan to hypnotize a weakling boxer (Jimmie Walker) and turn him into a killing machine.  Then they'll bet on him and since his odds are not good, they're sure to make a fortune.  Of course, things don't go as planned as they wind up on the bad side of some gangsters because of their con.

The story is definitely the weak link here.  It's ridiculous and doesn't make a whole lot of sense (I mean they don't explain how or why Clyde is a hypnotist much at all), but it also seems like the movie doesn't really try to make sense. It just wants to have fun.  With a mediocre cast, this could have been a mediocre film.  Fortunately, Poitier and Cosby are talented actors.  This material is a bit below them, but they turn the by-the-numbers- plot into a pretty enjoyable time.

Poitier is mostly known for his very serious dramatic work, so it was amusing to see him act like a moron.  But it's Bill Cosby that owns this movie.  His performance isn't over the top.  It's the little things he does that had me busting out laughing.  A certain tick he does, the way he says something, or fumbles a watch.  His comic timing is subtle but very effective.  He makes various different facial expressions throughout the film that cracked me up repeatedly.  The supporting cast is solid, from John Amos to Jimmie Walker.  My least favorite portion of the movie was anytime it involved Ossie Davis as the fraternity leader.  Those scenes weren't really funny, and I didn't see much of a point to them.  But thankfully, it doesn't take up that much of the movie. 

Poitier turns out to be a decent comedy director.  There are lots of dialogue driven humor (love the scene when the two accidentally interrupt a couple about to make love, and the reasons they give for being there are a hoot), but some of the slapstick works too, like when Jimmie Walker is under Clyde's spell and he starts breaking his training equipment.  I love the look of urban films of the 70's.  The night time scenes are dimly lit, and add a certain grittiness.  There is also a long but fun foot chase scene at the end which is made all the more exciting by a wonderful funky score by Curtis Mayfield (which needs to be on my ipod).

After the movie was finished, I was in a good mood.  It's not GREAT cinema or anything like that.  Just a fun mild diversion, though I will probably watch it again just too see all of Cosby's great facial mugging.

*** (out of ****)

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