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Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys! Reviews

Max Shulman is a witty author with Barefoot Boy with Cheek, Sleep 'til Noon, and many others to his credit. This novel was not quite so hilarious as those, but it deserved a better fate than this heavy-handed, overdone, inane, and farcical film. Meant to be a slap at "The American Way" and several other targets, it lays there like a week-old herring most of the time, mainly due to the overplaying of Newman and the clunky direction by veteran McCarey. It's base when it should be subtle, bombastic when it should be gentle, and any light moments are dimmed by Newman's pathetic attempts to be funny. He should have played it straight, thereby making it funny. Newman is a Connecticut commuter who travels to New York daily from his suburban home. He's married to Woodward and they have two children, although she's so busy being a local do-gooder that she hardly has time for him. Enter Collins, already a femme fatale at the purported age of 25. She is hot to trot with anyone who asks, except for TV executive Vye, to whom she is married. The government wants to use the quiet town for some undercover project, and although nobody knows what it is, they're all sure that it's something bad for the neighborhood. Woodward comes out against the scheme, and Newman goes to Washington to argue with the powers about it. Woodward then goes to the capitol to pay a surprise visit on Newman and finds him in his hotel room with Collins, who is trying to seduce him and wearing only a sheet. Woodward storms out and Newman follows her back to suburbia. Carson is an Army captain who is annoying everyone in the town and Newman is deputized to be the man between the Army and the people. At length (at a lot of length), Woodward has her allies dress up as Indians and leads a 4th of July skirmish against the Army. Carson's boss, Gordon, finally tells all. A missile site is to be built in the town, thereby bringing employment for all. Newman and Woodward eventually kiss and make up and the passion of that buss causes their bodies to press the lever that launches missiles. Inside the projectile is the much-hated Carson and he goes up in space at the conclusion. Weld does a good turn as a teenage nymphet who is turning on Hickman, a lovelorn oaf. Hammy balderdash is intermixed with whatever sharp lines were left over from Shulman's novel. Newman's first comedy should have been his last. Gratuitous and dubious sexuality makes this a poor bet for youngsters.