Bringing Up Baby review by Jackass Tom

Funny at times, screwy all the time

Bringing up Baby pulls no punches when it comes to screwball comedy. There is nothing normal about the universe these characters reside in. Their personality traits are all multiplied to the Nth+1 degree. Susan (Katherine Hepburn) is a bubbly, spoiled brat. She wanders through life without much of a care for other people. Playing golf she hits someone elses ball, in the parking lot she takes someone else’s car, and when it comes to the man she most recently fell in love with (Cary Grant) she does everything possible to keep him from his wedding. David (Cary Grant) himself is a bit of an awkward stuffy professor type who lacks control over his own life. He gets pushed around by his fiancée, gets pushed in every direction by Susan, and gets pushed around by possible museum donors.

Poor David (Cary Grant). He wants nothing at all to do with Susan. She completely ruins his career and his personal life. They encounter each other by chance in a bar after meeting each other very awkwardly at the golf course. Its at that point that bubble head Susan (wearing some sort of bizarre dress with wide spiraling ribbons in her hair to make her look out of this world) decides she will do what it takes to keep David from marrying his fiancée. It starts the next day when she has a leopard named “Baby” delivered to her house, that she must get to her aunt’s. She calls David because he is a zoologist. Not being the most with-it professor he gets pulled into the trap, never escapes, and misses his wedding.

This movie is one catastrophe after another. At one point it’s a lost bone that David needs for his dinosaur. Then it’s a pair of stolen cars. In a fit of rage, David ends up looking like a lunatic himself in front of his possible donators. Towards the end of the movie they even manage to lose the leopard and are thrown in jail. All of this drives David off the deep end and as we would suspect his marriage to his cold soon to be wife is no longer going to be.

So all of this would leave you to believe that David would get on a plane and fly as far away from Susan as he possibly could, right? Well we know that the whole point of a screwball comedy is the ‘integration’ process. Not necessarily the integration process between black and white, but between lovers; the central characters. Susan visits David in his museum as he is finishing up his dinosaur, and they both profess their love for each other. {Clearing eyes to make sure this is right!} And for an encore what does Susan do? Climb a ladder and destroy his dinosaur. So every ounce of David’s work, both professional and personal, has been blown up by this goofball woman and the come together at the end.

This last point is probably why audiences hated the movie! Can you imagine a Howard Hawkes comedy with Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn being a flop? Well this one was big time. So much so that Hawkes was fired from the studio and Hepburn had to buy out her contract for a few hundred thousand. I can see people going to this movie being completely turned off by her character and the appearance that someone would drop their entire life to be with her. She is spoiled rotten, probably never worked a day in her life, always gets her, comes from a wealthy family, and completely controls this guys life to the point of ruin, just so she can persuade him to love her. Yeah, it can be a tough pill to swallow. Then it was hated; today it is considered a comedy classic.

So what do I think of it? Glad I asked. There are some genuinely funny moments in this film and if you aren’t annoyed by Hepburn’s character too much and take it for what its worth it can be a pretty enjoyable movie. There are funnier films of the genre though. For my money, go with something like Arsenic and Old Lace and Philadelphia Story. Some of the jokes in this movie last a few minutes too long, and the situations become painful to sit through. Still beyond that, like I said, there are enough funny moments to keep me watching.

6 out of 10 Jackasses
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