Slapstick

[7.5] Christmas is coming and Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) is determined to have the best old-time family holiday gathering ever, complete with an amazing house lighting display, the biggest Christmas tree ever, and extended family filling the house with Christmas spirit. Of course, nothing goes according to plan. That’s the point of the Vacation movies — to watch things blow up in Chevy Chase’s face …

[6.5] Groucho, Chico, and Harpo (but not Zeppo) provide classic comic relief in a series of vignettes tied together in a loose narrative involving a wayward socialite (Margaret Dumont) and a pair of opera-singing lovers (Kitty Carlisle and Allan Jones). Groucho may be the king of off-handed one-liners, but my favorite is Harpo, who holds the screen without uttering a word. A Night at the …

[5.0] Groucho Marx plays the dean of a university in desperate need of a football win. His son (Zeppo) convinces him to recruit two football players at a local bar, but of course, Groucho recruits the wrong people (Chico and Harpo). When the rival university hires the real football players, Groucho responds by sending his new recruits to kidnap theirs, and everything ends in a …

[4.5] I want to like a Marx Brothers movie. Really, I do. But this is the third for me (after their earlier efforts, The Cocoanuts and Animal Crackers) and so far, no dice. In this, their first film written specifically for the silver screen (and not based on a play or vaudeville act), the brothers stow away on a transatlantic cruise where they constantly outrun …

[4.5] Groucho, Chico, Zeppo, and Harpo are back for their second big-screen soire. This one hangs loosely on a stolen painting plot, with Groucho playing a returning safari hunter at a rich aristocrat woman’s house where all the action takes place. Like The Cocoanuts before it, Animal Crackers still suffers from being an un-cinematic Broadway stage adaptation. It’s just hard for vaudeville acts like these …

[4.5] The Marx Brothers made their feature film debut with The Cocoanuts, a filmed version of their popular vaudeville act of the same name. The scenario is centered around a Florida hotel where the brothers try to swindle people in a real estate auction, complicate a jewelry theft, and facilitate a wedding. Highlights include Groucho and Chico’s “why a duck” routine and Harpo’s bizarre craving …

[6.5] Gizmo the cute Mogwai is back, and he gets wet again — this time in a New York City skyscraper run by a Donald Trump-like billionaire. Billy Peltzer and Kate Beringer (returning stars Zach Galligan and Phoebe Cates) both work there and re-team with their furry companion just in time to do battle with another army of nasty gremlins. This sequel to the 1984 …