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Bye Bye Birdie Reviews

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Christian C

Super Reviewer

August 12, 2014
So out-of-date it's hard to relate to anymore, but the ridiculous excess still provides many opportunities for laughter. Much of the music is unremarkable; nevertheless there are a few classic gems. For fans of Paul Lynde, he really steals the show. It's just a fun (but dated) family-friendly vege-out film.
Josh M

Super Reviewer

November 12, 2011
Bye Bye Birdie is a tuneful, engaging, perky, mixed bag of charm and cheesy retro fun. It is not a classic movie musical, its humor is corny, the filming is pedestrian, the cutting edge animation and green screen effects look horribly dated and the story is a paint by numbers dull plot with very low stakes. The 100% rating on RT is way high for my money, but this is still a pleasant wallow in nostalgia and innocence

Birdie captures a moment in pop culture that I lived through, when the Ed Sullivan show was the most watched entertainment event of the week, watched by the whole family every Sunday night. I mourn that there are not cultural experiences shared by multiple generations. Now everyone goes off to watch their own stuff on cable and computer and there are no shared experiences in pop culture -except maybe American Idol type competitions. This was also a time when Elvis Presley's hips were threat to America's purity. That really does seem like the stone age.

Bye Bye Birdie's assets: 1. A mostly sparkling cast, with the luminous and sexy Anne-Margaret and high octane charm of Dick Van Dyke doing what he does best. As Dad, a brilliantly cast supporting player Paul Lynde reprising his Broadway role, which he totally owns. He knocks each comedy line out of the park.

2. Wall to wall tuneful, witty songs,by Strouse and Adams that are the really the point of this enterprise. These include 'Put on a Happy Face', and 'Kids', songs that are still remembered. Still, the composers don't get rock and roll, and when they try to write Elvis style tunes they utterly miss the mark, but it doesn't matter. The resulting cheese is still edible.

Try to fast forward through the horrible over the top Jewish mother character and subplot played by normally excellent actress Maureen Stapleton and don't get too caught up in the details, the story is full of holes. That said, this is good fun, and you really can watch it with the whole family, if your kids are open to goofy retro cheese that kind of overstays its welcome in two plus hours.
AJ V

Super Reviewer

September 5, 2010
This musical is a lot of fun, the songs are great, and the cast is brilliant. This is one of my favourite musicals of the sixties, and I highly recommend it, it says a lot about early sixties teens too.
Mr Awesome
Mr Awesome

Super Reviewer

September 19, 2010
Love or hate Ann-Margret, you're going to get a lot of her in Bye Bye Birdie, the 1963 film adaptation of the broadway show. The studio apparently felt this film was to be Ann-Margret's "coming out" film to announce her arrival in hollywood. This is why the story was re-worked to focus more on her character and less on the original story featured in the stage production. Dick Van Dyke (reprising his role from the stage) is Albert, a song-writer who's quite unsuccessful in his career. His girlfriend and secretary, Rosie (Janet Leigh) wants to help make him a success, if only so he can pay back his mother (Maureen Stapleton) and get married. Unfortunately, the biggest singing star in the country, the unlikely named "Conrad Birdie" (Jesse Pearson) is about to be shipped off to the army (mirroring the real-life scenario with Elvis Presley in the late fifties). Rosie arranges it so that Albert will write the farewell song Conrad sings in his last performance on the Ed Sullivan show, a last kiss sort of song, and one lucky girl from the Conrad Birdie fan club will get to be on the receiving end of that kiss. At random, Kim McAfee's (Ann-Margret) name is drawn, and from this point on, the film focuses on the uproar caused by her getting kissed on the Ed Sullivan show by a rock-n-roll singer. There are a few stand-out numbers in the film, most noteably "Kids" (performed by the underused Paul Lynde, Maureen Stapleton and Van Dyke) and "Put On A Happy Face" (performed by Dick Van Dyke), but most of the other songs aren't very memorable. Ann-Margret just doesn't sing very well here and the side plot with her and her boyfriend Bobby Rydell is kind of irritating. It's not nearly as much fun as it would have you believe it is.
Mark H

Super Reviewer

December 15, 2009
Bright campy musical set in 1958 inspired by the phenomenon of popular singer Elvis Presley and his draft notice into the army. This enchanting adaptation of the 1960 Broadway hit takes a regrettably jaded view of rock and roll music. Luckily, the brilliant cast elevates this daffy comedy into the sublime: Dick Van Dyke is charming as always, Paul Lynde and Maureen Stapleton are hilarious and Ann-Margret is a saucy minx as the all-American teenager. Wonderful score features the songs "Put on a Happy Face", "The Telephone Hour" and "A Lot of Livin' to Do".
Jason S

Super Reviewer

February 16, 2007
Musical stuff.
iLeo
iLeo

Super Reviewer

December 25, 2007
A personal favorite.
July 23, 2014
Ann-Margret, mmmmm. She's so beautiful in this, although of course she doesn't pass as a teenager for a second. The movie is pretty goofy, but fun for the most part. Some wacky characters, also some miscast ones as well, specifically Janet Leigh in that wig. Dick Van Dyke is just generally likable even if not a great actor. Some interesting if dated camera work. I actually liked some of the songs, something I don't tend to find with a lot of older musicals. Fun musical comedy.
January 1, 2009
This movie varies greatly from the play it was based on (the 1995 TV version is much closer). This version is sillier, more outlandish, and much less coherent. However, I wouldn't even have a problem with its idiotic plot (not even the moment where they drug the conductor of the Russian ballet on the Ed Sullivan show in the hopes of getting him to conduct REALLY FAST so the dancers dance REALLY FAST so there's enough time for Conrad Birdie to sing) if the musical numbers were fun and energetic. But despite this musical reprising some of its Broadway cast and being made during the heyday of musicals... the musical numbers in this kind of suck. The singing is off, the sound mixing is terrible, the choreography is bizarre, and most have zero energy. My two favorite songs, "Put On a Happy Face" and "A Lot of Livin' To Do," are great fun, but this version offers me the most lackluster versions of these two I have EVER seen. With a weak plot and weak songs, there's very little I can recommend about Bye Bye Birdie. Believe it or not, the TV version with Jason Alexander and Vanessa Williams is far superior. At least that one enjoyed its musical numbers.
February 12, 2012
There are some great songs, but the story is all over the place and it never really has a focus. The Birdie character is non-existent throughout. Dick Van Dyke and Janet Leigh are amazing together. One of those 60s musicals that feels like a 60s musical.

Grade: B-
jam233
February 24, 2010
I am not quite sure what it is about this musical that makes it so appealing, but it is. Some catchy tunes help, a great supporting cast as well. Ann-Margret reveals that she has that something special to distinguish her from being just another teen star to standing out and becoming a major star. It's just a fun movie.
April 25, 2007
I love this movie. This is Ann-Margret, & Dick Van Dyke's 1st movie. The movie is loosely based on the drafting of Elvis Presley. "Bye Bye Birdie" is an entertaining musical. I Recommend this movie highly.
January 20, 2009
Conrad Birdie was tone deaf and unbelievable as a singing star. The best songs from the musical were left out. The acting was decent with Lynde, Van Dyke, Leigh, and Ann-Margaret. It was a disappointing version of a musical I know I've liked seeing on stage.
December 3, 2008
A tongue and cheek look at the effect a pop phenomena has on a group of giddy school girls, not unlike Elvis or any number of drool worthy teen idols over the years. Conrad Birdie is being drafted and the girls are heartbroken. A small town girl wins a contest to get a farewell kiss from this rock star and it begins to affect the whole town. Ann-Margret shines, but Dick Van Dyke and Janet Leigh add some comedic entertainment of their own!
jamilyn0276
November 20, 2008
Let me just say that I love this movie. It was on TV today, and I had to pause every time I went into the room.
Ann-Margaret was stunning back then. This is definitely my favorite of hers. Not to mention Dick Van Dyke and Janet Leigh. Absolutely brilliant cast!
I got to play Kim McAfee once, so naturally I can't sit through this movie without singing along!
kdbiblioteca
July 8, 2008
Sappy and stereotypical. And disrespectful to women. Also, Ann-Margret can't sing. AND WHY IS HER HAIR ALWAYS IN HER MOUTH????
January 7, 2008
campy and cheesy, but most musicals were back in the day. this movie will still make you put on a happy face with its silly humour, charming story, and great performances from perfectly-cast actors. not the best musical score, but it's still a light, feel-good film.
tjo7
November 18, 2007
A real treat to watch. I grew up watching these actors on TV and it always brings a big smile to my face.
cashelly19
September 8, 2007
I'll tell ya somethin...that was NOT g rated!!!!!!!!!!!! hahaahhahaha...why is conrad birdie soooo ugly???
darrylstrohl
July 25, 2007
Catch the Jason Alexander (George Cosanza) and Vanessa Wlms remake! Beter performances & it's truer to the original.
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