October 24, 2009
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.
January 9, 2008
September 2, 2011
This is a nostalgic gem--a snapshot of a lifestyle from bygone days. Bruce Dern with that winning car salesman smile captures the joy & naiviete of a generation. Co-stars Barbara Feldman (Get Smart's Agent 99) & a very young Eric Shea (Castaway Cowboy, Po\seidon) are a wonderful supportive cast for this "picture perfect" look at life in white suburbia pre-60's. I don't even think Rock n Roll has hit this little Santa Rosa, Californian town. In its innocence this is a look at if NOT a small town geographically at least in mentality "small town" life filled with sameness, homogeneousness. Excellent actors make this movie a "worth see" in my book! My "book" WILL include at least a chapter or so somehow sharing the amazing "playground" that the Southwest used to be to us Midwestern "transplants."
November 3, 2012
Ritchie was an astounding filmmaker who never got the recognition he so richly deserved. This film out not even a moth after and shares many of that film's stylistic quirks and, really, what film can go toe to toe with "Nashville"? Because of that it has never gotten the recognition it deserved. Now that we have DVD you can remedy that.
December 31, 2013
A perfect sister piece to the much more beloved 'Nashville' from Altman, Michael Ritchie's satire of small town America is a giant barrel of fun. Springboarding from a state beauty pageant, the film skewers the sometimes strange values of these people, assisted by a capable cast headed by a wonderfully straight Bruce Dern, dashes of sharp, occasionally raunchy wit and catchy songs sprinkled throughout.
February 17, 2013
A terrific Netflix flashback to the 70s. Great seeing so many wonderful character actors showing their chops. Worth seeing a young Melanie Griffith and Annette O'Toole, not to mention Bruce Dern and Barbara Feldon.
November 29, 2010
Humorous, usually subtle, makes this worth watching once. All about the worst aspects of beauty pagents. The contestants come from all over the state of California and range from a Mexican jumping bean to the quiet, shy types.
Most of the action in this witty and sarcastic view of beauty pagents revolves around Bruce Dern in a oddly comedic role, his 10 year old son who's determined to get pictures of undressing contestants and of course the girls themselves. Its all here, the humiliating judging of the girls, the corny acts they perform, the rehersals.
Barbara Feldon (of tv's sixties sitcom Get Smart) is a pagent orginizer who's marriage is on the rocks. Bruce Dern is a used car salesman type that is the lead judge of the girls and quite frankly a good comedic role for him. Dern usually portrays despicable people in all of his films, especially Westerns. So this is refreshing to see him being sublimely funny.
A look at one of America's most beloved institutions - the Young America Miss beauty pageant - in this twisted satire that "deserves a high place among successful film spoofs" ---Variety. The humor gets a little bawdy (sexual) and therefore not suggested viewing with your mother, your grandparents or kids.
The title says it all---- Smile!
Bruce Dern (judge of the pagent)
Melanie Griffith (a young contestant)
Barbara Feldon (pagent organizer)
Annette O'Toole (a young contestant)
Screenplay: Jerry Belson
Costume Designer: Patricia Harris
Editor: Richard A. Harris
Cinematographer: Conrad L. Hall
Director: Michael Ritchie
July 4, 2005
BITING SATIRE ON BEAUTY PAGEANTS, SO VERY FUNNY. THE CAST IS TERRIFIC. MICHEL KIDD IS AT HIS BEST, JOAN PRATHER DOES AN EXCEPTIONAL JOB. EARLY APPEARANCES FOR MELANIE GRIFFITH, ANNETTE O'TOOLE AND COLEEN CAMP. GRET FUN, VERY WELL WRITTEN.
February 4, 2004
Yeah, pretty baby SMILE! This one's a good one. Look for Annette O'Toole in her "Sunday" undies...But, more than a sexy movie, it's actually a GOOD movie (and Annette is both)!