Monday, May 21, 2012

Movie Monday: With Six You Get Eggroll

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This week's Movie Monday selection is the 1968 Doris Day comedy With Six You Get Eggroll!

I didn't intend to cover this movie since it seemed like such a piffle (no offense to Ms. Day), but I ended up watching it for a post I did for my AfterM*A*S*H blog last week. Also, since I love changing up these Movie Monday recaps so dramatically, I thought going from the big budget extravaganza The Avengers to the film noir The Killer Is Loose to a candy-colored 1960s romantic comedy would be a lot of fun. So here we go!
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With Six You Get Eggroll opens with Abby McClure (Day), a widow who runs her own business and is always fending off opportunities to get "set up" with eligible men. In an early scene, an employee badgers McClure into hosting a dinner that will feature such a man, a widower named Jake Iverson (Brian Keith).
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Iverson doesn't want to be fixed up any more than McClure does, so he pretty much grimaces through dinner, clearly dying to get out of there:
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He makes a phony excuse to leave early involving picking up some friends at the airport. But he gets busted later that night when he's caught at a supermarket by Abby, who agrees that the forced set-up was less than ideal.

Abby and Jake seem to like each other one-on-one, and go out on an informal date. They stop at a local ice cream place, where Abby is a regular customer, and a particular favorite of a soda jerk named Herbie (played by George Carlin--George Carlin!)
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Abby and Jake hit it off, and make plans to see each other again. But trouble arises when Abby visits a club (and quite a "mod" one it is!) and sees Jake there dancing with a very young woman. It is very not groovy!
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Abby gives Jake the cold shoulder for a while, until she realizes that the young woman she saw Jake with was his daughter Stacey (Barbara Hershey!), who is a classmate of her son's:
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Abby forgives Jake, and they start dating again, and fall in love very quickly. Stacey isn't thrilled with this, used to being the woman of the house. Another problem is Abby's oldest son Flip (John Findlater), who is similarly possessive and gives his mom a hard time when she stays out late one night with Jake:
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After a lot of trials and tribulations, and attempts to quell the chaos that comes with mixing the two families ala The Brady Bunch, Abby and Jake have a huge argument with involves Jake storming off. Abby chases after him, involving a madcap chase that draws in a gang of local hippies--two of which just happen to be played by future M*A*S*H stars William Christopher (Father Mulcahy) and Jamie Farr (Klinger), who all wind up at a police station after Abby gets in a car accident:
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Jamie Farr is actually pretty funny here. Hippies in major studio movies in the 1960s were pathetic, paper-thin creations, written mostly by rich, old white men who bore no relation to reality. Farr seems to realize this, and gives his character a whiny, high-pitched voice that reminded me a bit of Aziz Ansari on Parks and Recreation. The whole thing is ridiculous of course, but I grinner every time Farr had a line.

The film ends with Jake and Abby reconciling at the police station, and then they decide to sell both their houses and buy one giant one so both families can comfortably co-exist. The ever-lovin' end!


As you might expect, With Six You Get Eggroll is a total piffle. Doris Day is, still, Doris Day, and manages to put this very weak material across as best she can. She gives a lot of her lines a certain flinty spin; it's too bad that this was her final film--it would have been interesting if she had given some weightier material, appearing in the new kind of movies that were just around the corner (Ms. Day is still with us, and still active, but has turned down every movie offer that's come her way since).

It was hard for me to watch Brian Keith in this movie, knowing that he suffered from depression most of his life, leading to an eventual suicide in 1997. He plays a kind of gruff guy here, and he cuts a bit of an uneasy figure in such a piece of cotton candy such as this. Where was James Garner when they were casting this?

Still, it's a Happening seeing George Carlin in such a goofy role, and the die-hard obsessive M*A*S*H fan in me loved seeing Farr and Christoper together, five years before they'd make TV history (another actor from that show, Herb Voland, appears in the movie as well). Plus, I like eggrolls, so it's all good!


1 comment:

Caffeinated Joe said...

I am sure I "watched" this, way back when. As in, it was on the TV while I wasn't paying attention. My wife is a big Doris Day fan, so I am sure she has seen it a few times.

And good on your for keeping things very unique and surprising here!