MARRIAGE ON THE ROCKS
(director: Jack Donohue; screenwriter: Cy Howard/story by Cy Howard “Community Property”; cinematographer: William H. Daniels; editor: Sam O’Steen; music: Nelson Riddle; cast: Frank Sinatra (Dan Edwards), Deborah Kerr (Valerie Edwards), Dean Martin (Ernie Brewer), Cesar Romero (Miguel Santos), Hermione Baddeley (Jeannie MacPherson), Tony Bill (Jim Blake), John McGiver (Shad Nathan), Nancy Sinatra (Tracy Edwards), Davey Davison (Lisa Sterling), Michael Petit (David Edwards), DeForest Kelley (Mr. Turner), Sigrid Valdis (Kitty), Trini Lopez (Himself); Runtime: 109; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: William H. Daniels; Warner Bros.; 1965)
“Tasteless fluff romantic comedy.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Veteran TV director Jack Donohue (“Babes in Toyland”/”Assault on a Queen”/”Lucky Me”) helms this tasteless fluff romantic comedy with an unfunny Sinatra and Kerr (both starred in From Here To Eternity (53), but had no scenes together) trying to make funny but coming up with nothing more than witless yuks and strained comic situations. Watching “Marriage on the Rocks” is as cheerful as getting a divorce. It has the principle stars miscast in a comedy, which is a waste of their talent. But blame must also go to Cy Howard’s lame script and his unfulfilling story Community Property.
Successful Madison Avenue ad man, the company boss, Dan Edwards (Frank Sinatra), has been married for nineteen years to the 37-year-old Val (Deborah Kerr). She has soured on the marriage because Dan, once a swinger, has turned into a workaholic, square and bore. Val frets that she didn’t marry her other suitor Ernie Brewer (Dean Martin), a swinging bachelor who is Dan’s best and most loyal friend and is Dan’s assistant in the workplace. The solution is a second honeymoon to give the marriage a new shakeup and get away from the pesty kids, teenager Tracy (Nancy Sinatra, Frank’s eldest) and the adolescent Dan (Michael Petit), and also from Val’s live-in batty bag-pipe playing obsessed with color TV Scottish mother (Hermione Baddeley). The couple head to Mexico and run into the jack of all trades Miguel Santos (Cesar Romero), who not only rents them a room in his hotel but gets them a quickie divorce over a misunderstanding. Before they can correct the mistake and marry again, Dan learns that he must return for a business meeting in Detroit. Since Ernie flew down to break the news, he naturally ends up marrying Val in another mixup with Santos. To teach Dan a lesson, Val has a pretend marriage with the rascal Ernie. Val will later realize how much better off she’s with Dan, and so the original couple become intact again just like that.
There’s nothing serious about this romantic comedy, but there’s also nothing romantic or funny about it. It’s a film made entirely for the benefit of the stars to horse around, make an easy big paycheck and coast through the film not caring one way or the other how it turned out.
REVIEWED ON 5/31/2008 GRADE: C-