July 15, 2013

Movie Monday: Boys Night Out

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Fred (James Garner), George (Tony Randall), Doug (Howard Duff) and Howard (Howard Morris) are four buddies who are in a rut. Every week they go out for a night on the town and every week they wind up bored. They also all have pretty monotonous lives, going to work every day and coming home to their wives and children every night, except for Fred, who’s divorced.

One day they read an article in a Men’s magazine about “the perfect bachelor pad,” complete with blonde playmate, and through a series of misunderstandings and practical jokes, wind up renting exactly the perfect bachelor pad in Manhattan! While Fred is there sealing the deal with the landlord, a beautiful blonde named Cathy (Kim Novak) walks in. He thinks she’s there in response to a (fake) ad in the paper for the blonde playmate (part of the practical joke) and offers her the job. Much to his, and all the guys’, surprise, she accepts and moves in.

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Of course, all is not as it seems. It turns out, Cathy isn’t a kept woman by profession. She’s actually – wait for it – a grad student getting her Master’s in Psychology. Her thesis was, “The Adolescent Sexual Fantasies of the Adult Suburban Male.” She was looking for a place in town to stay during school, and lo and behold, she found a place complete with four adult suburban males ready and willing to explore all their fantasies with her. Or so they think. As the “experiment” unfolds, Cathy finds (proving her thesis) that what men think they want from a woman and what they really want from a woman aren’t always the same thing. But as time goes by and Cathy befriends the married men, unmarried Fred becomes more of a problem. And there is also the matter of the wives. In order to have a complete picture of the mens’ lives, her professor tells Cathy she needs to interview the women in the pictures. “When it comes to sex, men can’t help lying and women can’t keep from telling the truth.”

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“Boys’ Night Out” is a lot of fun, mostly the good and clean kind. It takes a pretty lighthearted look at infidelity, but it’s also a pretty sobering look that there is more than one way a person can find dissatisfaction in a relationship. Messaging aside, it’s a great excuse to watch a movie with James Garner and Kim Novak, both favorites of mine. Kim Novak is fantastic as the “good girl playing bad,” and James Garner as always has a strong presence and great comic intuition. And with a supporting cast led by Tony Randall, you know there are lots of laughs involved. Plus, can we just mention again that we’ve got a movie from the early 1960s featuring a beautiful blonde graduate student? Just throwing that out there. Because I like it.

“Boys Night Out” will be on TCM on Wednesday, July 17, at 12:30 am CST (Wednesday night).

Honorable Mentions:
The Mating Game (1959) – Wednesday, July 17, 10:45 pm CST
Larceny, Inc (1942) – Thursday, July 18, 9:30 am CST
Sullivan’s Travels (1942) – Thursday, July 18, 1:45 pm CST
The Palm Beach Story (1942) – Thursday, July 18, 7:00 pm CST
The Manchurian Candidate (1962) – Thursday, July 18, 8:45 pm CST
Gaslight (1944) – Saturday, July 20, 7:00 pm CST
On An Island With You (1948) – Sunday, July 21, 5:00 am CST

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