Friday, January 31, 2014

One More Time (1970)

The easygoing entertainers comprising the Rat Pack appeared in lighthearted movies throughout the ’60s, whether separately or together—with the most notable Rat Pack flick being the original Ocean’s Eleven (1960), which features the whole gang. Among the lesser examples of Rat Pack cinema is a pair of frothy comedies costarring energetic showman Sammy Davis Jr. and suave British actor Peter Lawford. The first of these pictures, Salt and Pepper (1968), introduced fun-loving London nightclub operators Charles Salt (Sammy Davis Jr.) and Christopher Pepper (Lawford). Directed by future superstar Richard Donner, Salt and Pepper did well enough to warrant a sequel, One More Time, which probably should’ve been titled One Time Too Many. Whatever charm was present in the original film is absent from the sequel, which compensates for the absence of a real story by bludgeoning viewers with outlandish situations and unfunny jokes. Davis works hard to sell physical-comedy shtick and Lawford delivers urbane charm, but the whole enterprise is so drab, pointless, and silly that star power isn’t reason enough to watch. Plus, because One More Time was directed by comedy legend Jerry Lewis as a particularly fallow point in his creative life, the movie’s gags feel tired even before Lewis milks the gags with irritating embellishments and repetition. For instance, Salt dresses up in a Little Lord Fauntleroy costume and fills his nostrils with snuff—then goes through what seems like an eternity of facial contortions before sneezing so powerfully he knocks over everyone in a crowded ballroom. This is Lewis’ comedy at its worst, simultaneously infantile and overwrought. As for the movie’s narrative, One More Time is nominally about Pepper investigating the murder of his twin brother, but it also concerns diamond smuggling, mistaken identity, and other random nonsense. (How random? At one point, Salt enters a hidden chamber in a castle, only to discover a mad-scientist laboratory occupied by Dracula and Dr. Frankenstein, played in cameos by Hammer Films stars Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing.) Lewis periodically stops the movie cold so Davis can perform musical numbers, and the director goes for cheap laughs with a fourth-wall-breaking gag at the end. In sum, One More Time isn’t worth your time—unless you’re a hardcore fan of the leading players.

One More Time: LAME


rob! said...

A Jack Davis poster could make any lame-ass movie look like a delightful lark.

By Peter Hanson said...

True story. And when he was hired to poster a genuinely good movie (e.g., Bad News Bears), the results were wonderful.