Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948)

[5.5]

Cary Grant and Myrna Loy play parents of two young daughters in a cramped New York apartment who decide to find a bigger place for themselves in the wide-open countryside. But their initial purchase turns out to be a bad investment, forcing them to tear it down and build a new house from scratch. As the bills pile up, Grant also becomes suspicious that Loy harbors feelings for an old family friend (Melvyn Douglas).

Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House is a showcase for Cary Grant’s humorous brand of incredulity, as one thing after another falls apart or incurs further expense on the house building. I’m not sure any of it’s as funny as the opening sequence, though, in which Grant nonchalantly ignores the many inconveniences of his crowded apartment — especially when he tries to shave while Myrna Loy’s hot shower fogs up the mirror.

The film never takes advantage of obvious opportunities for physical comedy (for that, we’d have to wait for The Money Pit). While there’s a lack of memorable comic set-pieces, the trio of leads are charming enough. Grant delivers the looks and Douglas delivers the one-liners, with Loy playing more of a foil than a distinct character. Mr. Blandings may not leave an indelible impression, but, hey. No harm, no foul.