Sunday, February 15, 2009

Mr. Hobbs Takes A Vacation (1962)

Roger Hobbs (James Stewart) thinks a romantic getaway with his wife, Peggy (Maureen O'Hara) would be ideal when he calls her to tell her the news. By the time he gets home, their romantic getaway has turned into a family reunion after she has invited their entire brood to a month-long vacation. Even worse, their rental turns out to be a dilapidated house on the beach complete with tons of family issues.

This was a delightful family film. My Mom had a great love of family films since family was what was important to her and she easily passed that love on to me. Stewart and O'Hara both give great performances (duh) and the situations they get themselves into are absolutely hilarious. Stewart's dry wit is so subtle in this one that I caught myself reacting belatedly to the joke and having to rewind so I wouldn't miss anything. Even though he is older in this, he is still great with his presence and physical comedy too. Watching him do the bird-watching walk alone is enough to leave anyone in stitches.

The script didn't disappoint at all with important sub-plots that underscore the serious side to marital and family relations. All the while, the tone of the film is kept light for that summer fun feel. That alone is a very difficult trick to pull without being too corny on one side or too glib on the other and it is done brilliantly. Stewart's crackling repartee and sarcastic jabs keeps the audience on their toes and tells them everything will eventually work out okay. A couple of my favorite quotes include Hobbs telling his wife, "We got one consolation. In the whole history of the world there has never been a child brought up right." Or Hobbs talking to a very attractive girl on the beach and he explains his brood includes grandchildren. As his wife steps out, looking gorgeous as only Maureen O'Hara can, the girl says, "That's a grandma?" Hobbs slyly replies, "36-26-36 and still operating."

I will keep this one short by saying this is delightful. It is a family film that instead of being geared for children, as most are today, is geared more towards adults. I think that is something that I miss in a lot of the more recent family films. If you get a chance, check this out as I am pretty sure the whole family will enjoy watching it.


kda0121 said...

I like this one as well. Jimmy made a trio of family films in the mid 60's. Hobbs; Take Her, She's Mine and Dear Brigitte. I like them all. Jimmy is essentially playing the befuddled father in all three, but he is so good at it, who cares?

AbbyNormal said...

Karl - I haven't seen the other two. I will have to check them out sometime as I bet I would like them.