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The American beauty-contest ritual is skewered by screenwriter Jerry Belson and director Michael Ritchie in Smile. The film takes place during an annual pageant in Santa Rosa, CA. The event is supervised by local mover and shaker Brenda DiCarlo (Barbara Feldon), to whom the contest is the most important thing on earth. Nothing -- not even the violent backlash of her neglected husband, Andy (Nicholas Pryor) -- is allowed to interfere with her pet project. Choreographer Tommy French (Michael Kidd), outwardly nasty and cynical, takes money out of his own pocket to insure the safety of the contestants as they parade down a rickety stage runway; chief judge "Big Bob" Freelander (Bruce Dern) discovers that his son is a budding voyeur, information which leads to a silly "politically correct" consequence; and the various contestants scheme to upstage one another through a variety of means (one girl puts Vaseline on her teeth to assure a gleaming smile). Among the contestants are such stars-to-be as Colleen Camp, Denise Nickerson, Annette O'Toole, and Melanie Griffith. Though not a hit itself, Smile has developed a fervent cult following, which led to a Broadway musical version of the property in 1986, with songs by Marvin Hamlisch. … More
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Choreographer Michael Kidd: 1919-2007
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Critic Reviews for Smile
Great spoof of beauty pageants
like a season of I Love the '70s condensed into two hours, and in its intimation that this is a uniquely disposable culture it's decades ahead of VH-1
One of those inimitable small films that squares with human experience in genuine, funny and memorable ways
Effective satire on beauty pageants.
Fun spoof of the beauty pageant industry. The kid with his sexual metaphors is the best.
Audience Reviews for Smile
Released the same year as Robert Altman's "Nashville," "Smile" takes a similar satirical look at lowbrow American culture. What's most wonderful is that this Michael Ritchie film not only paints a ruthless picture of a vapid "Young American Miss" pageant, steadily refusing to grant the audience any note of reassuring sentimentality, but that its gags are often laugh-out-loud funny (particularly during the talent competition). Not all satires manage to operate on that more visceral level. The cast is full of faces who became much more familiar later -- Melanie Griffith, Annette O'Toole, Dennis Dugan, George Wyner, Colleen Camp -- but Bruce Dern stands out as the dim but well-meaning head judge (a car salesman during the rest of the year) who always tries to put an upbeat spin on life.More
- Robin Gibson/"Miss Antelope Valley":
- Well, I'm just glad I'm not old enough to vote.
- Doria Houston/"Miss Anaheim":
- It's a CONTEST!
- Doria Houston/"Miss Anaheim":
- No, I won two hundered dollars and had a wart removed.
- Little Bob Freelander:
- Dad, are there any fat girls in the contest?
- Ted Farley:
- And that girl...has a wooden foot.
- "Big Bob" Freelander:
- How does Santa Rosa FEEL about that?
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